January 19, 2014

Remembering for always

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is marked by closed schools, banks, government offices and many libraries. There will be no mail delivery.

For some workers, it’s just another paid day off. Another day off for students who probably will sit home without giving a thought to Martin Luther King Jr. It’s just another Monday federal holiday, as it has been since 1983, although in 1994, Congress declared it as a national day of service. It’s meant to be “a day on, not a day off.”

Fortunately in this community the holiday is commemorated. Events have taken place throughout the weekend, culminating today with the annual memorial wreath-laying ceremony at the intersection of East Walnut Avenue and MLK Jr. Boulevard. Following this is a free breakfast and message at the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton, where the United Way of Northwest Georgia is holding the Economic Opportunity Expo and Culture Fest until 3 p.m.

But there are other ways to honor the memory and legacy of one of the greatest and most influential Georgians who stepped on the world stage. And one way to honor him is to look over some of the great orator’s thoughts, as recorded in books and speeches he made during the years of the civil rights movement from the 1950s until his assassination in 1968.

We dare anyone to find fault or argument with any of these thoughts:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

And of course, the thought that perhaps sums up Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for a better America:

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Let us not forget that sentiment, not just for today, but for always.

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