Transcript for Valerie Jarrett Reads Statement From President Obama at Muhammad Ali Memorial Service
Because of only connection the president and First Lady. Asked me if I would read this tribute to U tendon by President Obama. It was it 1988. And epic career was in its twilight. Everybody knew it. Probably including the champ himself. Eileen went into one of his final fights an underdog. All of the Smart money was on the new champ. Larry Holmes. And in his inning ending. Oddsmakers were right. A few hours later at 4 AM after the loss. After the fans. Woman the sports writers were writing their final take. A sportswriter asked a restroom attendant. If he bent on the fight. Black and getting on in years said he put his money on Ali. The writer as. Why the man's bond. Because he's Mohammad Ali yeah. And that's why. He said mr. I'm 72 years old. And I killed a man. For giving me my dignity. To logging. The I'll leave them laying. You amazing. The man we celebrate today is not just a boxer. Or a poet. Or an agitator. A man of peace. He was not just a Muslim or a black man. Oil Lillie build kid now I know you risk that would that million built this wonderful city. He wasn't even just the greatest of all time. He was Mohammed Ali. The hold far greater than the sum of its parks. He was bigger brighter and more original and an influential. Than just about. Any one of his. And yes. He was pretty chair. He had fans in every city every bill lives every ghetto. He was spattered by foreign heads of states. The Beatles. British invasion took a detour to come to him. It's sometimes of the champ was simply to thing for America. But I actually think that the world flocked to him. In wonder precisely. Because. As he wants put it Mohammad Ali. America. Acts have finance pioneering. Joyful. Never tired following game to test the odds. He was our most basic freedoms. Religion. Speech. Spirit. He embodied our ability to invent ourselves. His life spoke to our original sin of slavery and discrimination. And the journey he traveled helped to shock our consciousness. And lead us on the run about past. Toured salvation. And like America. He was always very much a work in progress. We do have a disservice to god up his story. To sand. On his rough edges to talk only if floating like butterflies and stinging my days. Ali was a radical even in a radical of times a lack. And crash. And unabashedly. Black boys in the Jim Crow world. Some sense into us. Yes they day pushing us to expand our and that imagination. And bring others into our understanding. Now there were times when he's long a bit while they vote that's right. Wound up. And accidentally may have. As he was the first to admit. But you know all its triumphs and failures. Eileen seem to achieve this sort of enlightenment. And inner peace. That we are all striving towards. In the sixty you read other young men his age we're leaving the country to a board avoid war or jail. He was asked why even join them. He got angry. He said he never lead. His people in his words are here. The millions struggling for freedom and justice and equality and I can do a lot of help in jail or not. Right here. He'd have everything stripped from him. His titles his standing his money his passion very nearly his freedom. But alleys still shows America. I imagine he news me fit only here in this country. Could he win it all back. So we chose to help perfecting union where I dissent. And the flames can become big king of the world. And in the process in the process. Some dignity to all of us may take quarters. Students. An elderly bathroom attendant. And help inspire. A young. Mixed hit today with a funny name to have the audacity. To believe he can't be any hang it. The United States and. And America. Mohammed Ali will always be America. What a man. What they spirit. Would A joyous. Might have pulled champion. God bless the greatness. Lee. God blesses them again and god bless this nation we love thank you very much.
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