Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Saturday said the Juneteenth holiday "is a fitting addition to our national holidays."
"On Independence Day, we celebrate our Declaration of Independence and our country’s birth on the principle of the natural equality of all mankind,” Cotton said in a statement.
“On Martin Luther King Day and now Juneteenth, we remember our striving to live up to our founding principles in practice. On Veterans Day and Memorial Day, we honor those who fought and died for our country and its noble heritage. And we give thanks to God on Thanksgiving for the blessings of liberty and prosperity. So, on this first national holiday of Juneteenth, let us all take pride in our great nation and the strides it has made to realize fully the promise of America.”
President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan bill Thursday making Juneteenth the 11th nationally recognized holiday.
"I have to say to you, I've only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as president," Biden said. "I regret that my grandchildren aren't here because this is a really, really, really important moment in our history. By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history -- and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we've come (and) the distance we have to travel."
Juneteenth is the date that marks the true end of slavery in the United States.
According to Britanica.com, although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, news of it did not reach Texas until more than two years later when union troops entered Galveston on June 19, 1865, and informed the residents that slavery was abolished.
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” Union Major General Gordon Granger read to the people of Galveston. “This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
The news was greeted by former slaves with dancing, prayer, feasting and music.
The first anniversary of that day was the first Juneteenth celebration in Texas and the commemoration eventually made its way into other states.
Texas made the day a state holiday in 1980.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.