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The Villages
Monday, January 30, 2023

Americans need to fully embrace the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Martin Luther King Jr.’s work continues to serve as an inspiration to us, more than 50 years after his assassination. In fact, his message seems even clearer today than it did during the turbulent 1960s, a time in which Americans were terribly divided.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was a grassroots idea, and began to be celebrated in 1971 in cities such as St. Louis.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed for the first time on Jan. 20, 1986.

It took 14 more years for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to finally be observed in all 50 states. Arizona, New Hampshire and Utah were the last three states to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As with all holidays, we fear that the meaning is lost. Hard-working folks embrace a day off from work to catch up and spend a little time at home and probably don’t take time to think about the idea or person the day was designed to honor.

In recognition of King’s life and work, we recommend taking a few moments to ponder one of his most famous quotes:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

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