(CNN) -- President Barack Obama commemorated a milestone for the United States on Saturday -- "Juneteenth," the anniversary of the day 145 years ago that word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, and led to freedom for thousands of African-Americans still being held as slaves.
When Union troops arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news of President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation ending slavery in the United States, it was two and a half years after the proclamation had actually been issued.
"On this day 145 years ago, the people of Galveston, Texas, received word from members of the Union Army that those slaves who remained captive were now indeed free," Obama said Saturday in his statement commemorating the anniversary.
"This occasion, which became known as Juneteenth, is now celebrated here in America and around the world and is a time not only to celebrate the rich heritage and many accomplishments of African Americans in our country, but also a time to reflect on the common values and ideals that we share as Americans," Obama said.
According to NationalJuneteenth.com, in 2010, Mississippi became the 36th state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.