Hoyer Statement on 40th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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mr. conyers: mr. speaker, it's now my high privilege to recognize our majority leader, the gentleman from maryland, mr. steny hoyer, who many years ago had me bring to one of his meetings rosa parks, and that was the beginning of a very important relationship between mrs. parks and steny hoyer and myself. . the speaker pro tempore: the majority leader is recognized for one minute. mr. hoyer: i thank my friend for yielding. john conyers, a distinguished leader of the civil rights movement whose leadership and commitment and tenacity and steadfastness led to the declaration of a holiday, a holy day in many respects, a day of recommitment when we remember the life, legacy and teaching of martin luther king jr. i did not know dr. king. i met him but didn't know him, but i have known john conyers, and i have known john lewis. i know them both. they are giants themselves. john lewis, of course, the sponsor of this resolution, who represents atlanta, who came from alabama, who marched across the edmund pettus bridge, confronted by troops who wanted to stop him from doing what is basic to the united states of america, the right of every citizen to express their view on how their government ought to be peopled and run, the right to vote. as a result of his courage and the leadership of dr. king and john conyers and so many others , we passed a voting rights act. i am honored to stand with these two giants. i understand that mr. smith, the ranking member of the committee, who helped bring this to the floor, i thank him. i am of this generation that remembers the dark day in april of 1968. followed too closely by another dark day on june 6, just two and some-odd days, months later. but mr. speaker, 40 years ago this friday, martin luther king jr. was murdered. he called us to love justice, to love our brothers and sisters of every color, of every race, of every nationality, of every religion, of every gender. he spoke the truth, but on april 4, 1968 he was taken from us, but his lesson was not taken from us, nor his example. in this flawed and fallen world, hate and rage and violence will have their day, but if we can find even a sliver of good in that crime it must be this -- dr. king died on a balcony, an open place, a public place. dr. king showed us he proved with his own body that a just cause is worth dying for. as our founding fathers had done, as frankly, in my religion, jesus did. it is worth living for, too, he showed us. this resolution, even though i'll vote for it, wholeheartedly, even though i trust it will pass unanimously, even though it's offered by my good friend, john lewis, who, quote, toiled and brought and fought with dr. king. it's just words on paper. unless we match it with the resolve of our lives. that is what dr. king wanted us to do. our conduct, our actions are the only honors we have worth giving. these words on paper take on value when and only when they spur us toward what dr. king called a committed life. after the autopsies, which showed that his 39-year-old body -- autopsy, which showed that his 39-year-old body showed the body of a tired man, after they bulled his body in a ...