Earlier this year, I brought my son Mikey along on a bipartisan civil rights pilgrimage through Alabama led by my colleague Congressman John Lewis. Our pilgrimage marked the 50th anniversaries of the desegregation of the University of Alabama, the Birmingham Children's Crusade, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s letters from Birmingham Jail. Our final stop commemorated the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

Together, we retraced the steps of heroes like Congressman Lewis, Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Dorothy Cotton, and so many others who paved the way for greater freedom and opportunity. It was their struggles and enormous sacrifices that helped transform our nation. Standing on the Edmund Pettus Bridge alongside John Lewis — a man who continued Dr. King's call for equality when he helped lead the march across the bridge in the face of great danger — was a very moving moment and a stark reminder that our country must never forget its past as we strive to ensure a brighter future. Having Mikey with me served as a reminder of why these sacrifices are so important — so like generations before us, we may leave our children with a better country than was left to us.

As Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.” As we reflect upon the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we should all rededicate ourselves to ensuring equality for every American and working together with common purpose to ensure a better future for our children.

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