SPEECH: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue Dedication

August 28, 2017

In the United States Capitol, there are items that reside unique to Georgia.

 

The columns on the outside of the original structure are Georgia marble.

 

In the frieze around the rotunda, James Oglethorpe is pictured signing a treaty with American Indians, founding Georgia.

 

And each state is allowed to have two statues in the Capitol.

 

But yet there are three prominent Georgians represented in the building that symbolizes our freedom and liberty.

 

That’s because there is a Georgian with a bust under the Rotunda who doesn’t count against our total.

 

A statesman so great, he’s claimed by the entire nation.

 

He was born, raised, went to college and lived most of his all-too-short life within a few miles radius of this very spot.

 

His nonviolent approach to injustice sprang from the word of our Lord, and his melodic words moved “stone mountains.”

 

He was just an ordinary preacher’s son, from Auburn Avenue, whose life turned out to be anything but ordinary.

 

He’s one of the most revered Americans in our history. He’s honored around the world. And he’s one of us.

 

He will forever be remembered a Georgian.

 

He is carved into stone on the National Mall – and we are all rightfully proud of that.

 

But this, this place – where we stand today – is home.

 

This statue will hold this spot for generations after all of us gathered here today are long gone from the earth.

 

Millions will visit and reflect on how He changed the world.

 

It’s appropriate that he’ll stand at the intersection of the street that bears his name and Liberty Plaza….  a place where in 2017 Georgia’s “little black boys and girls” join hands with “little white boys and girls as brothers and sisters,” just as Dr. King wished for in 1963.

 

I’ve often heard it mentioned that it’s the home folks who are last to recognize the greatness of one of their own.

 

Jesus Christ came to the earth to give us eternal life, but he wasn’t a big deal in Nazareth. He was just a carpenter’s son to his neighbors.

                                         

Today we recognize the greatness of our own son, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In molded bronze, we tell another chapter of our story.

 

Under this Gold Dome we bask in his glory.

 

In the city too busy to hate, we single out a man who taught us to love.

 

Here; he is home at last.