Address to the Nation's Students on the Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
we honor a man who dedicated his life to the pursuit of a dream -- a dream not
just for himself but for you, for all of us, for
Our nation's founders first stated the principle to which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., dedicated his life when they wrote: ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'' Today we continue to cherish those truths and the rights and values upon which our country was founded and for which Americans have, for 200 years, worked and fought and, yes, for which many have given their lives -- for which Reverend King gave his life.
years ago, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Reverend King reminded us of
fight -- Reverend King's fight -- for genuine equality of opportunity goes on,
even today. We're all part of it, but we should never forget the strides that
have been made and the many reasons for hope. Too often in the past, for
example, blacks lagged behind in economic well-being while others advanced. We
would hear story after story about how
strides are being made in education, as well. The publication we released last
spring, ``Schools That Work,'' describes many schools that are doing a good job
educating disadvantaged children. One shining example is the
You know, one of our Founding Fathers, James Madison, once said: ``A well instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.'' That's why it's so important that every American receives a sound education. That's why it's important that you stick to your studies, work hard, and get your diploma. You'll be doing it for yourself, yes, but also for your family, your friends, your community, and your nation. Make it your first contribution to preserving the American dream for the generations to come.
You know, Nancy and I have asked all of you to just say no to drugs. That way -- and by finishing school -- you'll just say yes to your future and your dreams. Reverend King and many others through our history have lived and died so you could make those dreams into realities. By doing your best, you can say thank you to them.
that speech I mentioned at the Lincoln Memorial, Reverend King said that with
our faith in America's promise of freedom and opportunity we could ``transform
the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.''
To move the world towards enduring love and brotherhood is the continuing
vocation of the human soul. But we in
Let us each, on this day, dedicate ourselves to preserving and expanding the American dream. Let us resolve that future generations will know a new birth of freedom and that this land that Reverend King loved so well and gave so much to will continue to shine with the brilliant hope of all mankind.
Note: The President's address was videotaped at on January 14 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. It was broadcast on January 15 and 18 on Public Broadcasting Service and Southern Educational Communications Association television stations.