The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 18, 2004

Presidential Message: Juneteenth, 2004

I send greetings to those celebrating Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing word of the Emancipation Proclamation which had been issued more than 2 years earlier. On hearing the news that "all persons held as slaves" in the rebellious States were "thenceforward, and forever free," former slaves celebrated their new freedom.

Today, African Americans in Texas and other parts of the country observe June 19, also known as Juneteenth, with cookouts, family gatherings, parades, and other community events. Juneteenth celebrates the truth that freedom is God's gift to every man and woman. This day also recognizes the progress America has made in ensuring that our Nation lives up to our founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice, and represents an occasion to reaffirm our commitment to these principles.

Laura joins me in sending our best wishes.


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