Everyone has responsibility in upholding King’s dream

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On the third Monday of January we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who dedicated his life to the advancement of civil rights for all people. I’m grateful for Dr. King’s courage and his tireless work for social justice to make America a better, more inclusive and diverse nation. I am a big believer that diversity is a source of our nation’s strength. On this day, we Remember! Celebrate! Act!

We remember the promissory note spelled out in the United States Declaration of Independence which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We reflect on the actions and many sacrifices that were made so that all people would be treated equally. We cannot forget all those who risked and lost their lives in the name of freedom and equality.

If it wasn’t for Dr. King and other civil rights pioneers’ commitment to racial equality my life would be different. During my military career I have been given the opportunity to serve in key positions at all levels. We are moving in the right direction as a nation, but more work can be done. Together we can help create irreversible momentum for an even brighter future for all.

We celebrate the long list of achievements and accomplishments by many who contributed greatly during the civil rights era, and we also celebrate those who helped keep the candle of hope lit for generations to come. It’s our responsibility to ensure King’s dream is upheld and his legacy is not forgotten.

Together we must act. We can’t affect change and make a difference alone. We must continue to work together and stay the course to educate, enable and empower each other. It is important to reiterate to the younger generation what happened in the past, but we must also instill in them they have the power to create change and build a brighter future for their families and our communities.

We must recognize those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat actions that would impede our progress to move forward.

MLK day must be more than just a day of remembrance; it should be a tribute to our history and reminder of the progress that has been made and the work that lies ahead.

MLK day is not a day off—but a day on.