437 47 2 LINKEDIN 41 COMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON —There will be two notable absences at Wednesday's commemoration to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington: George H.W. and George W. Bush.

Both former presidents were invited to participate in Wednesday's celebration, which will feature speeches from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by President Obama as well as former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. But both Bushes are dealing with health issues and decided it best to skip the event.

"He's doing fine, but he's not able to get up to Washington this week," said Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W. Bush, who is still recuperating after undergoing surgery this month for an arterial blockage.

Ford stressed that the younger Bush's recovery is going well, and that Bush even managed to stop by the Southern Methodist University's football practice on Tuesday.

In a statement, Bush paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and noted that the nation has made great progress since King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech half a century ago. But Bush noted the country's "journey to justice is not complete."

"Laura and I thank the King family and all who work to carry on the legacy of a great man and the promise of a great nation," Bush said in a statement. "May we continue to march toward the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected.

"Dr. King was on this Earth just 39 years, but the ideals that guided his life of conscience and purpose are eternal. There's still a need for every American to help hasten the day when Dr. King's vision is made real in every community."

Meanwhile, the 41st president visited the White House last month for an event recognizing his "thousand points of light" volunteer initiative. The elder Bush, 89, has been dealing with various health problems and was released from a lengthy hospital stay in January after experiencing severe bronchitis-like symptoms.

437 47 2 LINKEDIN 41 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/18jf0tG