To honor and celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, Houston has planned a full three day weekend, state lawmakers have taken a week off and on the national front, President Obama has scheduled two inaugural ceremonies, one in private on Sunday and the other publicly on Monday.
Around Houston there’s a community health fair, a youth concert, parades and a feed the hungry food drive scheduled. One can even participate in a show of support for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender homeless teens by donating and helping sort personal care items at the Montrose Center today(ABC13.com).’
This weekend is labeled honoring the civil rights leader by committing to community service, which is not reflective of what’s normally called honor, reflection, as well as, respect. There’s a bit more to honoring those who actually gave their all, so that others could benefit(Star-Telegram).
How did we get to this point of service, over honor? How far down the road will service, over honor get us, if we loose sight of the honor?
Martin Luther King’s Day as a federal holiday, believe it or not, was first introduced by the unions, in contract negotiations. In 1979, a bi-partisan bill was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan and Senator Edward Brooke, Republican from Massachusetts. That bill fell short by only five votes from becoming law.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill introduced by Rep. Katie Hall, Democrat from Indiana and three years later, the holiday was officially observed. Some time after the original signing, a couple of Liberals, former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act, which stripped the importance of the day away, and erased history in the sense that now, Liberals only refer to the day as a day of service and not a day of reflection upon full emancipation of a United States citizen.
While it may be true, King’s legacy is full of service that went above and beyond the normal call of service, but he like George Washington and Christopher Columbus are the only paid federal holidays and as such, if we’re not going to associate either of the others with service, why strip the observance from only one?