Congress honored the "foot soldiers" of the civil rights marches from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery in March 1965 on Wednesday with the Congressional Gold Medal, with the ceremony providing a rare bipartisan moment for a place riven with partisan strife. “While we can never truly repay the Foot Soldiers … pay tribute to them by remembering to vote in every election, every election,” Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., said in her remarks. “Selma is now. There is still much work to be done.” Sewell sponsored the legislation to award the medal to the men and women who marched with Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who sponsored the Senate version with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and was born in Hybart, near Selma, reflected on the complicated history of his state in very personal terms during his remarks at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall. “Certainly I feel like I should have stepped forward more,” he said.