Rev. King Would Urge Nation To Grow From Within, Obama Says : The Two-Way President Obama honors Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
NPR logo Rev. King Would Urge Nation To Grow From Within, Obama Says

Rev. King Would Urge Nation To Grow From Within, Obama Says

Speaking in a Washington, D.C., church were the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sometimes preached, President Barack Obama today honored the slain civil rights leader by speaking of his leadership and the lessons Americans can still take from it.

The White House has made the video of Obama's remarks available, and has posted the text of his address here.

We'll embed the video below. Here's an excerpt from the president's remarks in which he speaks about why he believes many Americans need to get back in touch with the nation's "core values":

"We have to recognize, as Dr. King did, that progress can't just come from without — it also has to come from within. ...

"Progress will only come if we're willing to promote that ethic of hard work, a sense of responsibility, in our own lives. I'm not talking, by the way, just to the African American community. Sometimes when I say these things people assume, well, he's just talking to black people about working hard. No, no, no, no. I'm talking to the American community. Because somewhere along the way, we, as a nation, began to lose touch with some of our core values. You know what I'm talking about. We became enraptured with the false prophets who prophesized an easy path to success, paved with credit cards and home equity loans and get-rich-quick schemes, and the most important thing was to be a celebrity; it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you get on TV. That's everybody.

"We forgot what made the bus boycott a success; what made the civil rights movement a success; what made the United States of America a success — that, in this country, there's no substitute for hard work, no substitute for a job well done, no substitute for being responsible stewards of God's blessings.

"What we're called to do, then, is rebuild America from its foundation on up. To reinvest in the essentials that we've neglected for too long — like health care, like education, like a better energy policy, like basic infrastructure, like scientific research. Our generation is called to buckle down and get back to basics."

Monday is the federal holiday honoring King's birth.