America's Millennium Gala
Remarks by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
December 31, 1999
Good evening, everyone. For the last two years we have been preparing for this moment with the White House Millennium Project that has honored the past and imagined the future all across our country. And isn't it wonderful that, as far as I can see, we can all be here together tonight?
It is so moving to stand at this place, which in this century has become America's sacred ground. Here we have come again, as individuals, with our children in hand, by the thousands, to witness and strive for what is best in our country and ourselves.
Under Mr. Lincoln's gaze, we each stand taller and we all reach higher. The great march on Washington came here in 1963 as a mighty river of hope, fed by every race and every stream of American life, to hear the man who was Lincoln's spiritual descendant. This century's American prophet proclaimed, I have a dream. It was, and is, the American dream.
Across the river, on a hillside that looms above this memorial, a single flickering flame in the night marks the grave of the young president who spoke here on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and whose funeral passed here on the way to Arlington. At the summit of the American century, he told us not to be satisfied, but to challenge ourselves: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
It was a time when visions were raised up and leaders were struck down. But their ideals will never die. They will go with us into the new century and the new millennium. And here is a song from a time in this century that touched America's soul: Abraham, Martin, and John.
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