Melania and I send our best wishes to those celebrating Juneteenth.

On this day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to declare the end of the Civil War and issue a long-awaited order freeing the remaining slaves in Texas.  Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, the freedom of most slaves depended on the advancement of the Union Army, which brought with it enforcement of the Proclamation.  In Texas, General Granger’s order was a major step in our Nation’s effort to abolish slavery forever.

This historic moment would not have been possible without the courage and sacrifice of the nearly 200,000 former enslaved and free African Americans who fought for liberty alongside more than 2 million Union servicemen.  These brave individuals fought to defend the God-given rights of those unjustly held in bondage.

As a Nation, we vow to never forget the millions of African Americans who suffered the evils of slavery.  Together, we honor the unbreakable spirit and countless contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of American greatness.  Today and every day, we recommit ourselves to defending the self-evident truth, boldly declared by our Founding Fathers, that all people are created equal.