Trump signs proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Susan McFarland  |  Updated Jan. 12, 2018 at 4:27 PM
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Jan. 12 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying it is a day to mourn his loss, celebrate his legacy and pledge to fight for his dream of equality, freedom, justice and peace.

"Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear," Trump said. "That no matter what the color of our skin, or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God."

Joining Trump at the podium was Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew.

Trump mentioned the privilege of recently signing into law a bill that will make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace a national park, and shared sentiments about King's life and how he changed the course of history.

A man photographs the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as fog rolls in off the Tidal Basin on Friday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

"This is what Rev. King preached all of his life-love. Love for each other, for neighbors, and for our fellow Americans. Dr. King's faith and his love for humanity led him and so many other heroes to courageously to stand up for civil rights for African Americans," Trump said, "Through his bravery and sacrifice Dr. King opened the eyes and lifted the conscience of our nation, he stirred the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul."

Carson said he vividly remembers the day King was killed and said the death was far from silencing.

"This year we will not remember his slaying as the ending but as a beginning, as a moment when his truth rose stronger than hatred, and his cause larger than death," Carson said.

Martin Luther King Day will formally be observed Monday, the date of his birth.

Farris said his family does not want the holiday merely to be "a day of hero worship."

"We refer to it as a day on, not aday off," Farris said. "It's not a day to hang out at the park and pull out the barbeque grill, it's a day to help someone else. That's the proper way to remember my uncle and the proper way to celebrate the holiday."

Friday's proclamation and remarks came one day after Trump reportedly made controversial comments about why people from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations emigrate to the United States.

After he signed the proclamation, Trump was questioned by reporters about the remarks but did not answer.

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