By Sen. Lisa Murkowski
January 16, 2012
Now it’s said that the national holiday celebrating the life of the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should be regarded as a “day on,” and “not a day off.” I subscribe to that philosophy.
This Nation observes ten national holidays each year. We celebrate the birth of our Nation and the beginning of a new calendar year. We remember those who have fought for our liberties. We commemorate Presidents and explorers. And we give thanks to God for the bounty he has brought unto us at year’s end.
But Dr. King’s birthday is unique among these national holidays. For it is on Doctor King’s birthday we are called upon to look inward and forward – not back.
On this unique day we ask difficult questions that go to the root of human nature – in order to move forward positively and productively. We ask ourselves why it is that human beings, on occasion, act in ways that are sometimes harsh and cruel. We also ask ourselves to be a part of human progress.
But those questions are just part of what Dr. King wanted. Making a personal commitment to act completes the day. Dr. King was committed to equality but much more he was committed to bringing about a kinder and more civil society. And now it is left to us to complete his mission.
Dr. King once said “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” That’s the question we should be asking and answering in our day-to-day behavior. And not just in our hearts, but through actions like contributions to the community or lending a simple helping hand to a stranger who hasn’t thought to ask for it. Those are a few meaningful but small steps we can take to bring about the change we want to see in the world, and continue what Dr. King started.
Received January 16, 2012 - Published January 16, 2012
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