June 19, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 102 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
JUNETEENTH INDEPENDENCE DAY; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 102
(Senate - June 19, 2018)
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[Pages S4032-S4033] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] JUNETEENTH INDEPENDENCE DAY
Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I would like to recognize today, June 19, as Juneteenth Independence Day. We are celebrating the 153rd anniversary of the date on which slavery legally came to an end in the United States. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the United States, but it still took 2 and a half years for this news to spread throughout all the Southern States. Today, we honor the faith and strength demonstrated by former slaves and the descendants of these individuals, who remain an example for all people of the United States, no matter their background, religion, or race. It is my hope that Juneteenth and the Emancipation Proclamation serve as a reminder of the progress the United States has made towards equality and the ways in which we can still improve. Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I rise today to honor Juneteenth Independence Day, a day that commemorates June 19, 1865, as the date on which slavery came to an end in the United States. On this day, over 150 years ago, and over 2 and half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Texas became the final State where the abolishment of slavery took effect. On this day, we must confront the ugly parts of our history and honor the slaves who suffered and died under a repressive regime. We must also pay tribute to all those who had the strength [[Page S4033]] and conviction to fight to end slavery and keep our Union together. Juneteenth Independence Day is also an important moment to recognize how far we have come and take note of how far we have yet to go. At the time the Constitution was drafted, Native Americans were referred to as savages, African Americans were fractions of human beings, and women were not referred to at all. The genius of our Constitution wasn't its perfection, but rather that it inspired each generation to expand the concepts of liberty and freedom and make our Nation's promise real for more and more people. We must not rest until that liberty and freedom is real for all people, and this Juneteenth let us all recommit to helping our country live up to its fundamental promise and highest ideals. ____________________