Embracing King’s legacy as new president takes charge

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing commander
Today marks the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of America's most inspiring leaders. All across America, we will reflect on his legacy this Monday, the third Monday in January, as we observe the Dr. Martin Luther King federal holiday. 

Rather than just another day for federal workers to sleep in, go shopping or just goof off, let's make this Monday a day of sober reflection on where our country has been and where it is going. 

When Dr. King was growing up, in many regards America was a divided nation. Forced segregation between races caused turmoil and friction throughout society. Prejudice and discrimination limited individuals of all colors. Some people reacted violently to changes in the status quo and some reacted violently to change things. Dr. King, an ordained minister, relied on his Christian beliefs to advocate a nonviolent approach to force positive change and erase injustice. The youngest Nobel Prize winner at 35 years of age, he was arrested numerous times, threatened, even had his home fire-bombed and yet he persevered. He had a dream that we all can share and work toward; where all men are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 

While we continue to climb that mountain, I'm sure Dr. King would be exceptionally proud on Inauguration Day. In some regards, America has many divides. We all hear about red states and blue states, yet now is the time for us to be United States. On Tuesday, America once again peacefully transitions power and inaugurates its newest president. This time, however, the people have elected a man of African-American descent. America did not elect Barack Obama based on the color of his skin, but on the dreams and vision he presents for America; on the content of his character. Regardless who you voted for, now is the time for all Americans to rally together to make our nation great, to conquer the problems we face, and to erase the divides between us. Please be safe this weekend and, as you enjoy the Martin Luther King Day observance, I hope you will set aside some time to reflect on his message of peace, hope, equality and love.