On January 20, 2020, our country will honor the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This federal holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, close to or on his birthday on January 15. Many Americans will spend the day in service to their community. The Flag Manufacturers Association of America hopes that all citizens will also proudly display their American flags to show their support on this important day.
Dr. King, the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, was assassinated in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, although it was not observed until 1986. It was officially observed by all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
Dr. King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Americans answer that question each year by coming together on this holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. In 1994, Congress designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national day of service. The federal legislation, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, challenges Americans to transform the holiday into a day of volunteer service. Also often
referred to as the MLK Day of Service, this is a perfect time for Americans to answer Dr. King’s challenge to do something for others and make our country a better place to live. Go to www.mlkday.gov for further information and Action Guides for your community.
As we celebrate Dr. King’s 90th birthday, it is a good time to remember a quote from a sermon he delivered in 1968. “You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer.... You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.”