George W. Bush agrees with MLK Jr.: Justice for blacks 'is not complete'

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Former President George W. Bush agrees with many blacks on Wednesday's 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream speech" being celebrated by President Obama on the Mall. "Our journey to justice is not complete," said Bush.

In a statement to be issued Wednesday, Bush said that King's vision for a color-blind society has yet to be met and he urged the nation to continue to dream — and fight to fulfill that dream.

"Dr. King was on this Earth just 39 years, but the ideals that guided his life of conscience and purpose are eternal. Honoring him requires the commitment of every one of us. There's still a need for every American to help hasten the day when Dr. King's vision is made real in every community — when what truly matters is not the color of a person's skin, but the content of their character," the former president's statement said.

Neither Bush nor his dad, former President George H.W. Bush, will attend Wednesday's event due to health issues.

Below is the full Bush statement provided to Secrets:

Laura and I are proud to join our fellow Americans in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.

When Reverend King came to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1963, his purpose was to hold our Nation to the standards spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. He called all of us to live up to that document's fundamental promise and the underpinning of our founding - that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with thousands gathered around him, Dr. King looked out over the American capital and uttered simple, powerful words that changed the hearts of millions. The dream he had spread a message of hope, justice, and brotherhood that took hold in the hearts of men and women around the world.

Our country has come a long way since that bright afternoon 50 years ago; yet our journey to justice is not complete. Just to the East of the Lincoln Memorial, where President Obama will speak on Wednesday, stands the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. There on the National Mall our President, whose story reflects the promise of America, will help us honor the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise.

Dr. King was on this Earth just 39 years, but the ideals that guided his life of conscience and purpose are eternal. Honoring him requires the commitment of every one of us. There's still a need for every American to help hasten the day when Dr. King's vision is made real in every community — when what truly matters is not the color of a person's skin, but the content of their character.

Laura and I thank the King family and all who work to carry on the legacy of a great man and the promise of a great Nation. May we continue to march toward the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected. And may God continue to bless America.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.