President Barack Obama paid somber tribute to Nelson Mandela Thursday, celebrating the late South African leader’s “fierce dignity and unbending will” and unquenchable thirst for justice.
“For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice,” Obama said in the White House briefing room.
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he's gone home, and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth,” Obama said. “He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages.”
Mandela, who was 95, died from complications of a recurring lung infection.
"His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better," Obama said.
The president also recalled the personal connection he felt to Mandela, and the antiapartheid campaignRead More »from Obama: Mandela 'took history in his hands' and wrought justice