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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 16, 2006

Presidential Message on Juneteenth

June 12, 2006

I send greetings to all those observing Juneteenth.

President Lincoln called the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 the "central act" of his administration and "the greatest event of the nineteenth century." The joyous news of freedom did not reach Galveston, Texas, until two and a half years after emancipation when Major General Gordon Granger arrived and announced that the Civil War was over and all slaves were free. Ever since, Americans have marked June 19th with special celebrations and traditions commemorating this historic moment.

On this day, we honor the vision of President Lincoln, and we will keep striving to build a Nation where the dignity of every person is respected, where people are judged by the content of their character, and where the hope of the American dream reaches every neighborhood and every citizen. Together, we can continue to advance the ideals of liberty and justice that make our country strong and help more Americans realize the full promise of this great Nation.

Laura and I send our best wishes on this special occasion. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.


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