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Public Statements

Nelson Mandela International Day

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to President Nelson Mandela and to commemorate the 5th anniversary of ``Nelson Mandela International Day.'' On this special day, the thoughts, prayers, and wishes of all Americans, and peace loving people the world over, are with Nelson Mandela and his family.

In 2009, the United Nations dedicated this day in recognition of Nelson Mandela's commitment to humanity as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker, and as the first elected president of a free, democratic, and multiracial Republic of South Africa. Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to serving humanity in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality, the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, the uplift of poor and underdeveloped communities, and the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a world culture of peace.

In honoring these dreams, hopes, goals, and acts, the United Nations calls upon people everywhere to devote 67 minutes today to helping others, one minute honoring each year that Nelson Mandela devoted to us, humanity. Through our service to others, we honor the achievements and sacrifices of Nelson Mandela.

Today we honor the life and work of a man who by his courage, commitment to justice, grace in the face of unearned suffering, and capacity to forgive continues to inspire the world.

In the words of Nelson Mandela: ``For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.''

Happy birthday to one of the greatest men of our time.

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