As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eighty-fifth birthday, we must all remember not only what he stood for, but the true pursuit of his life. He tirelessly worked to see America stand up to its creed, but sadly that is yet still not accomplished. MLK’s message was never a call to just black people; it was plea to all Americans that we need to be true to ourselves and our founding fathers. We must lead by example, and realize to be American means to embrace the notion that “All men are created equal.”
Our founders may have been imperfect but they reached for the ideal when they created our Constitution, and it was that grasp for the more perfect union which makes this the greatest nation ever conceived. MLK could not have been so great without the internal conviction that in America everything is possible, because we are always growing and improving. Our mistakes of the past will not hold us back from achieving the promise of our future.
There are those who want to turn back the clock and relive the yesterdays, but we must all accept that those days are a memory and tomorrow will bring new challenges and new obstacles. Consequently, we must move forward and continually ask ourselves. “Does what we do today, help us tomorrow?” This question is much more difficult to answer than it seems. As Americans we have very differing opinions and ideas about our direction, however, as long as we are not so stubborn that we block other citizens from having their voices, we will have an opportunity to write a greater future together. Only when extreme Americans believed that they were so right and everyone else was wrong, did our union get torn apart.
MLK’s birthday represents so much more than a celebration of a great American; it is a day of national self-reflection. A moment when we should look within ourselves and ponder whether we are each doing enough to see his dream come true. Only through personal responsibility to our nation will America reach the mountaintop set forth in our Constitution. MLK’s birthday must remind all of us of this ultimate obligation to our fellow citizens.