Foot soliders deserve congressional recognition

Published 9:41 pm Monday, February 16, 2015

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass a bill to honor foot soldiers that participated in the Voting Rights Movement with a Congressional Gold Medal.

Rep. Terri Sewell applauded the house’s passage of the bill, and we are applauding her effort as well as others representatives who voted to pass the bill.

While many leaders of the Voting Rights Movement have received various honors for their involvement in the fight for equal voting rights for everyone, the foot soldiers have never been honored by Congress. This bill will allow them to finally receive the honor they deserve for marching, protesting and letting their voices be heard.

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The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor than can be awarded to civilians, and to see the foot soldiers finally receive that honor is truly a great moment not only for Selma, but for everyone.

The medal will allow the foot soldiers to be honored forever for the sacrifices they made in the Voting Rights Movement. Without the foot soldiers, the movement wouldn’t have been possible.

This honor for the foot soldiers is just one more thing Selmians can be proud of, and it couldn’t come at a better time with the 50th anniversary looming in just a few short days.

While the nation has decided to honor the foot soldiers with its highest honor, the people should honor them with an even greater one.

“Exercise our right to vote every time there’s an election — that’s the tribute to the foot soldiers,” Sewell said during a ceremony for foot soldiers held Sunday at Brown Chapel.

As citizens, everyone should honor the sacrifices of the foot soldiers by registering to vote and exercising the right to vote, which was fought for 50 years ago.

If Selma’s people don’t register to vote and show up to the polls, it is a dishonor to those people who marched.

While medals may be a high honor, voting and exercising that right is the greatest honor the foot soldiers and members of the Voting Rights Movement can receive from people today.