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A Day of Service: America Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 16, President Obama and officials from across the Obama Administration participated in events and community service projects commemorating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
President Obama and the First Family tour the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson tour the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial before the dedication ceremony in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

On Monday, January 16, we commemorated the day in honor of one of our Nation’s most prolific historical leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we reflect upon the life and brilliance of Dr. King and his legacy, we must continue to uphold the principles and values he courageously fought for. In the Martin Luther King Jr. Day proclamation, President Obama said, “At a time when our Nation was sharply divided, Dr. King called on a generation of Americans to be ‘voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion.’"  The embodiment of Dr. King’s mission has encouraged generations of men and women to prevail over decades of injustice.  His vision has stirred civil rights advancements and inspired millions.

With so many Americans still experiencing extraordinarily difficult circumstances, we are reminded that during times of hardship, we must pull together, lend a hand and help lift up those in our community that need help the most. Dr. King’s long-lasting impact taught each of us that we can overcome our toughest adversities when we stand together.

His words and actions exemplify an unselfish mission to fight for progress and fairness for all races. This progress is movingly illustrated through Dr. King’s monument that stands today on the National Mall, close to the place where the historic March on Washington challenged our nation to become a more perfect union – the memorial is a symbol of the progress of our nation. The unveiling of this historic memorial, since Dr. King’s last birthday celebration, reminds us that his, “remarkable dream is unending, with persistence, progress is within our reach…a dream of justice and equality in our society...a dream of service,…that you could lead by giving back to our communities.”

Dr. Kings’ legacy of progress unified many Americans to engage in acts of service by using the day to participate in community service events across the country. His dream and legacy of service is an integral part of the road to securing our future. That is why President Obama called on the Nation to participate in service events. Through the efforts of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), we also created the MLK Drum Majors for Service Program to recognize outstanding volunteers nationwide who perform everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment, but who seldom receive recognition.

You can find more information about Monday’s activities on or read stories about MLK Drum Majors of Service featured on The Root.