Martin Luther King Jr. was a powerful, inspirational, and unwavering voice for hope and peace, justice and brotherhood, civil rights and civility. He led a movement and changed a nation; he fought for freedom and summoned a people to live up to our highest ideals. When Dr. King spoke, Americans did not simply listen – many were inspired to act, to march, to demonstrate and sit in and struggle for equality.
It is an extraordinary tribute to Dr. King’s life and work that our nation now honors him among our greatest leaders and heroes with a memorial on the National Mall. Standing on an axis of leadership between Presidents Lincoln and Jefferson, Dr. King’s words still echo and resonate in the hearts and souls of millions, here and around the world. He remains a ‘drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness’; he still stands tall on a mountaintop, imploring us to moral action, preaching non-violence, embracing truth and pursuing the common good.
Dr. King altered the course of history for the better; yet his work remains unfinished, his dream not yet realized. On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we must continue to heed the lessons and messages of his life; we must recall his relentless campaign not just for equality, but for economic justice, fairness for our workers, and opportunity for all. We must cherish his memory, build on his legacy, and honor his commitment with acts of service and a renewed dedication to overcome discrimination in our time.