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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


May 9, 2013 - 3:48 pm

The Senate swiftly passed a bill today posthumously awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to four young victims of violence in the Civil Rights Era.

Addie Mae Collins, 14, Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14, were killed on Sept. 15, 1963, during the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Alabama Republican Richard Shelby introduced the measure in the Senate.

“As the 50th anniversary of this tragedy approaches, I believe that awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award bestowed upon civilians by the United States Congress, is an appropriate way to honor the memories of the victims,” Shelby said. “Their deaths continue to serve as a reminder of the struggle for freedom and equality for which many sacrificed their lives.”

The House approved the bill, introduced by Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), on April 25.

“The 50th anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing marks one of the most tragic events in our state’s history and the impetus for immense social and cultural change. We will never forget those young innocent lives, murdered because of the color of their skin,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

“Birmingham is to be commended for the way it has fully acknowledged the enormity of this wrong in its past and has been a leader worldwide in the promotion of racial reconciliation. An excellent example of that, among others, is the ‘Birmingham Pledge’ which calls on all people to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to end social prejudice,” Sessions continued. “This Congressional Gold Medal is a lasting tribute to their precious memory.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Will this kind of pandering ever cease? Dispensing the CGM like Pez candy does a disservice to the original intent of the honor, and cheapens it for all future awardees.

Will not Congress let us get past this kowtowing ad infinitum to racist sentiment, be it from one side of the other. This sort of action does nothing but incite passions rather than allay them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They should be remembered, but I don't see how being a murder victim entities you to a medal. It certainly should be given to people who were part of the "struggle for freedom and equality for which many sacrificed their lives." But simply walking to church and minding your own business doesn't qualify. It's an insult to all those other medal recipients who actually, you know, did something brave to deserve it.
1 year ago
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