Thirty years ago, in 1986, the United States celebrated the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the first time as a national holiday. Continuing in that tradition, our school and schools across the country are closed today to commemorate the life of an ordinary man – a husband, a father, and a pastor – whose extraordinary impact on this country and the world cannot be overstated.
When Dr. King was presented with the 1964 Nobel Peace prize, the committee had this to say about him:
Though Martin Luther King has not personally committed himself to international conflict, his own struggle is a clarion call to all who work for peace.
He is the first person in the Western world to have shown us that a struggle can be waged without violence. He is the first to make the message of brotherly love a reality in the course of his struggle, and he has brought this message to all men, to all nations and races.
Today we pay tribute to Martin Luther King, the man who has never abandoned his faith in the unarmed struggle he is waging, who has suffered for his faith, who has been imprisoned on many occasions, whose home has been subject to bomb attacks, whose life and the lives of his family have been threatened, and who nevertheless has never faltered.
We've asked several members of the community to share their thoughts with us as we celebrate Dr. King's life and legacy: