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New York joins the world in remembering Nelson Mandela as a hero and symbol

ALBANY – The passing of Nelson Mandela is being marked around the world, and in New York State.   The man who spent 27 years in a South African prison, but remained steadfast in his successful resolve to end apartheid, died Thursday at age 95.  He served one term as president of South Africa, from 1995-99.

Governor Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff today, in honor of President Mandela.  President Obama ordered flags nationwide lowered through next Monday.

“Nelson Mandela refused to accept injustice, fought relentlessly for what was right, and showed that a dedicated person of courage actually can change the course of history,” Cuomo said.  “His struggle to end racism, poverty and inequality began with his fight against apartheid, continued through his service as the first black President of South Africa and is now passed on for the world to continue. We will not soon see again, nor should we ever forget the profound example of humanity that Nelson Mandela embodied. While President Mandala is no longer with us, here in New York and all around the globe, his legacy lives on. His family and friends, and the people of South Africa, are in my thoughts and prayers along with those of all New Yorkers.”

“Nelson Mandela was a hero to the world,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. “His bravery in defending human rights against the great evil of apartheid made him a symbol of courage and dignity, as well as an inspiration to people everywhere. As Blessed Pope John Paul II noted during his visit to South Africa in 1995, Nelson Mandela was for many years, ‘a silent and suffering witness of your people’s yearning for true liberation,’ who as president of South Africa, had to then ‘shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction.’ In succeeding in these crucial and difficult tasks, Nelson Mandela truly made the world a better place.”