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“Our country has come a long way since that bright afternoon 50 years ago; yet our journey to justice is not complete,” Bush said.  

Bush said President Obama’s story reflects the promise of King’s words. Obama will speak Wednesday afternoon. 

“There on the National Mall our President, whose story reflects the promise of America, will help us honor the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise,” Bush and his wife said in the statement. 

Bush underwent unexpected heart surgery earlier this month to open a blocked artery. Doctors found the blockage during a routine checkup and implanted a stent to relieve it.

Former Presidents Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE and Jimmy Carter will also speak in front of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday afternoon. 

No Republican elected officials are slated to take the podium Wednesday.