The following was presented in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on Veterans Day, November 11, 1984.  Over one half million people were present the first time Sammy delivered this message.


In 1963, two-hundred fifty thousand people were drawn to our Nation's Capitol by a promise that was spoken in two words.  Two words that went on to shape the soul of this nation.  Two words which expressed a concept so simple, so basic, yet so far away from life, as it was at that time, that the words changed history.

Those words must be spoken again.  We have dedicated a statue honoring our living that has been placed in the shadow of a monument honoring our dead.  I suggest to you that the two words of 1963 speak directly to those of us today who have yet to find a place on this Mall.


Freedom now for the Prisoners of War and the Missing in Action yet to be "accounted for" from the Vietnam War.  Accounted for is a contemptible term to begin with -- money and property are "accounted for", not men --and not accounted for is simply unacceptable.

It is unacceptable to even think that men are still imprisoned in a war no longer being fought.  It is unacceptable that families sent sons, brothers and husbands to their country and got question marks in return.  It is "UNACCEPTABLE" that the business of nations can not allow the pain of the unknown to haunt them to the point of action.

The reverend Martin Luther King brought pain and suffering into the face of a nation and he demanded it be healed.  He insisted that a country born of justice and equality extend that justice to all citizens.  He refused to accept that America left anyone behind in chains and simply went about its business.

And he said two words -- FREEDOM NOW --which became a cry; a cry for justice, a cry for decency, a cry for fairness.

For the mother of a Prisoner of War who cries every time she sees his picture -- FREEDOM NOW.

For the sons and daughters of the Missing in Action who do not remember what it feels like to be hugged by their father -- FREEDOM NOW.

There have been promises enough that there will be action and there have been all too many guarantees of results that have not been followed through on.  If campaign promises of a renewed, stronger America are to be believed, it is up to us to insure that our past be settled.

An organizer of Dr. King's march of 1963 was asked, somewhat rhetorically, why the march ended at the reflecting pool and did not continue to the steps of the Capitol building.  "It is simple, man," the organizer replied, "the man in the White House can hear us from here."

The man in the White House -- who already claims to support our goals -- can hear you from here as well.




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