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Senator Kerry in honor of Martin Luther King Day

Statement of Senator John Kerry
Below is a statement from Senator Kerry in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Kerry spoke this morning at an annual tribute to Dr. King in Boston.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

“There is no greater gift than the one Dr. King gave to each of us.

''Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged the conscience of my generation, and his words and his legacy continue to move generations to action today at home and around the world. His love and faith is alive in millions of Americans who volunteer each day in soup kitchens or in schools, or who refused to ignore the suffering of millions they'd never met in far-away places when a tsunami brought unthinkable destruction. His vision and his passion are alive in churches and on campuses when millions stand up against the injustice of discrimination anywhere, or the indifference that leaves too many behind. “Every Martin Luther King Day, we ask ourselves, ‘what if Dr. King had lived?’ But this year we should challenge ourselves to ask the question not what would Dr. King have done had he lived, but what would he want us to do with the time we have left.

“What would Dr. King want us to do about the injustice of one out of every eight children in our country going without health care? It's time we live up to the ideal of social justice that Dr. King died for on that balcony in Memphis. It's time that we meet our responsibility to see to it that in the richest country on the face of the earth every child has health care and we keep climbing until there's health insurance for the 45 million Americans without it today.

“What would Dr. King want us to do when the right to vote we thought we guaranteed in the 1960s remains incomplete? It's time we live up to Dr. King's dream by making certain that every vote is counted in every county in every state in every part of our nation in every election bar none.

“Dr. King led a generation that fought and bled for freedom. The weapons they faced were fire-hoses and night-sticks and dogs – and intolerance. They braved them with conscience and guts, faith and determination. They fought and many died so that all Americans might be free.

“Now it's time for all of us to apply the same sense of conscience, the same guts, the same determination, and the same faith in all we can be to change our America for the better – and to finish Dr. King's work at home and around the world.”

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