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Significance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

January 22, 2013
By Maja Bursac of Thomas Nelson HS

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a gentleman who propagated the seeds of hope and healing in America. We also memorialize the timeless values he educated us through his example --- the values of courage, truth, righteousness, compassion, dignity, humbleness and service that so dazzlingly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we venerate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary essence.

The King Holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only envisaged of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.

This day also celebrates Dr. King’s prodigious dream of a vivacious, all-embracing nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child. We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America.

It is a day of integrated and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings countless people from myriad cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of togetherness. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Caucasian, or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King Jr. fostered for America. It is a peoples' holiday!

We commemorate on this holiday the leader and the visionary who embraced the unity of all faiths in love and truth. And though Dr. King was an American, on this holiday we must also venerate the global leader who inspired nonviolent liberation movements around the world.

The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.

This holiday honors the courage of a man who endured harassment, threats and beatings, and even bombings. We commemorate the man who went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others, and who knew he would pay the ultimate price for his leadership, but kept on marching and protesting and organizing anyway.

Every King holiday has been a national "teach-in" on the values of nonviolence, including unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation, which are so desperately-needed to unify America. It is a day of intensive education and training in Martin’s philosophy and methods of nonviolent social change and conflict-reconciliation. The Holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people, to get in the habit of asking themselves, "what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict?"

On this day, people recognize yet one more time about the power of unconditional love even for one's adversaries as a way to fight injustice and defuse violent disputes. It is a time to show them the power of forgiveness in the healing process at the interpersonal as well as international levels.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. All across America on this day, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can't read, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream.

"Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we "will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life's most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?'" he would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John "...whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all." And when Martin talked about the end of his mortal life in one of his last sermons, on February 4, 1968 in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, even then he lifted up the value of service as the hallmark of a full life. "I'd like somebody to mention on that day Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others," he said. "I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life...to love and serve humanity.”

We call you to honor this holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. May we who follow Martin now pledge to serve humanity, promote his teachings and carry forward his legacy into the 21st Century." -The Holiday Spot 

*Please note that most of this information came from the Holiday Spot; it was just put into our own words. Have a great day! :) 

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