On the fifth annual Nelson Mandela International Day, which this year marks Mandela’s 95th birthday, we honor his lifelong commitment to service, tolerance, and respect for our common humanity. He showed us that one man’s courage and perseverance can move the world.
Mandela’s legacy reminds us that history is in the hands of each and every one of us. It is in the hands of giants like Mandela who have changed the fate of nations, but it also lies at the reach of any individual who has ever raised her voice against injustice, pushed against the walls of oppression, or sustained quiet courage. It rests with every new generation, which has the power to bring the world closer to truly embracing our common humanity.
Though Mandela’s health weighs heavily on our hearts, his legacy is stronger than ever. The United States and the American people join the entire world in sending our prayers to Madiba and his family. Let us mark this occasion by rededicating ourselves to the values and hopes he embodies. Let us strive to follow in his noble path—to stretch out the hand of fellowship and forgiveness across the deepest of gulfs, to find peaceful ways to resolve the bitterest of conflicts, and to insist on the revolutionary power of empathy and human dignity. May Mandela’s towering example – as a statesmen and a human being – forever endure and continue to inspire us for generations to come.
- Cross posted from U.S. Mission to the UN