A day of service

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- This year, Jan. 18 marks the federal holiday designated to honor an extraordinary man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King was not only the first African-American to receive an official holiday dedicated in his honor, but the first non-U.S. President. Each year the theme remains the same: “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A day on… Not a day off!”

Remember! From December 1955 until April 1968 more genuine progress was made in America toward racial equality than in the previous 350 years. Although Dr. King was arrested 30 times for his participation in civil rights activities, he remained a man of action. Through jail, beatings and threats he strived to educate while promoting forgiveness, unconditional love and nonviolence.

Celebrate! Encourage one another to take the time to discuss the legacy of Dr. King with those around you. During his lifetime, Dr. King worked tirelessly toward a dream of equality. He believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America.

Act! Acknowledge that inequalities, bias and discrimination are still present in our society. You should not treat inequality as a relic of the past. To this day, hate still exists and can be disguised in many different forms. Emphasize the message of nonviolence in all aspects of your life.

Dr. King stated “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

A day on… Not a day off! Let us all take this day to seek ways to improve our community. Motivate those around us to get involved, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems within your control and ensure Dr. King did not die in vain. By taking these selfless actions we help keep his dream alive. Start the year off right by making an impact within our community.