21st Space Wing Equal Opportunity Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”
Twenty years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these words, Public Law 98-144 was enacted, designating the third Monday in January as a federal holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday. George Washington is the only other American whose birthday has become a federal holiday.
Since the first MLK holiday on Jan. 20, 1986, the observance has been an occasion for people to remember Dr. King’s life and dedicate themselves anew to implementing his dream; but how does he want us to remember him? In a sermon delivered Feb. 4, 1968, only two months before his murder, Dr. King told the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church:
“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral, and if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell him not to talk too long. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize. That isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards. That is not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. I’d like them to mention, on that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others.
“I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. And, I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”
Indeed, this is our challenge, too, as we commemorate the birth of a man who dedicated his life to gaining civil rights for all. During this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observance Peterson AFB will serve as the host for the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service 11 a.m. to noon, Jan. 26, in the wing chapel. For more information call 556-7691.