Presidents give Memorial Day speeches every year, but one of the most memorable holiday addresses came from a vice president 50 years ago this weekend.
In remarks at Gettysburg, Pa., site of the pivotal battle in the Civil War, Vice President Lyndon Johnson spoke of the unfulfilled promise of civil rights.
"One hundred years ago, the slave was freed," Johnson said a century after the battle of Gettysburg. "One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin."
Johnson also said at the Gettysburg cemetery, where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address in 1863: "The Negro today asks justice. We do not answer him - we do not answer those who lie beneath this soil - when we reply to the Negro by asking, 'Patience.' It is empty to plead that the solution to the dilemmas of the present rests on the hands of the clock."
A little less than six months later, Johnson became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
A little more than 13 months later, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On Aug. 6, 1965, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, 43 years before the election of President Obama.
The New York Times, which spotlighted LBJ's remarks at Gettysburg, reports:
"The speech was given on Memorial Day, May 30, 1963, not on the anniversary of a battle now regarded as a turning point in the Civil War. Johnson's visit to Gettysburg was a helicopter trip that took but 2 hours and 34 minutes, start to finish, but it was indicative of the bigger journey he would take as president."