The victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing will soon be given one of the nation's highest civilian honors.
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday that would honor Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson with the Congressional Gold Medal.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby R-AL introduced the bill to senators.
"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. Their deaths continue to serve as a reminder of the struggle for freedom and equality for which many sacrificed their lives," said Sen. Shelby.
A similar bill was recently passed by the House of Representatives that was introduced by Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell D-AL and Congressman Spencer Bachus R-AL.
"It is befitting that we bestow the highest civilian honor posthumously to them for the 50th Anniversary of the church bombing as we recognize and pay tribute to those who fought for justice and equality for all," Rep. Sewell said.
"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. This Congressional Gold Medal is a lasting tribute to their precious memory," said Rep. Bachus.
The bill is now headed to President Obama's desk to be signed.
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