Jan. 20 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day to remember the slain civil rights leader and the movement for equal treatment and justice he epitomized, beginning with Rosa Parks’ arrest in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., through King’s death in 1968. Does observing this date every year help us to recall and learn from the past, or does it keep us chained to a past from which we have largely moved on?We should always look back to the past on Martin Luther King Day. MLK was a leader against racism, discrimination and pure hatred. Some of the horrors going on during his time included turning people away at the ballot box to deny their rights to vote, telling people they were unworthy to work based solely on their skin color, and worst of all, violence that sometimes lead to murder.On MLK Day, let us not just remember the man for whom the day gets its name. Let us honor him by not forgetting evils he and many others fought against. And let us do all we can by not allowing such horrors to become part of our society again. — Travis Malone, Richland HillsKing’s crusade was apparently to attain integration, equal opportunity and equal status. Few can argue his approach as being successful. However, his successors have not obtained transparency among the races.The color of one’s skin matters less than, as MLK stated, “the content of their character.” It is unfortunate that many of the national leaders in the black community promote racism in order to extend their own agenda and to attain special advantages for black people.Giving special advantages to one race is contrary to transparency, agitates others and promotes racism.Many blacks have attained transparency through education, hard work that contributes to the society, elimination of actions that agitate others and identify them to a certain race, family responsibility and taking advantage of opportunities afforded.Does not celebration of a holiday for a man who was not a hero to the majority of all citizens promote racism? — Grady Fuller, KennedaleAlmost every day on the calendar is designated as a holiday, somewhere in the world. For example, today Jan. 6 was Sam Rayburn Day and Epiphany Day, both signified in color as an official holiday. And who would question the relevancy of a speaker of the House born in Bonham, Texas in 1882, or a second century observance of the three wise men’s visit to see the baby Jesus? Some people will observe MLK Day on Jan. 20. Some will observe the day before, Jan. 19, as Confederate Heroes Day. Lest we offend one, we say this to all: To each his own. Romans 14:5 says: “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike.” — Eddie Griffin, Fort WorthShould Martin Luther King day be observed every year to help us recall and learn from the past?Yes! A great philosopher, George Santayana, said that “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”All citizens of the United States of America should be reminded that our country has only recently learned to treat all races and ethnicities as equals.This change in our values occurred not because our citizens suddenly became converted to equality but because of the challenges by civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King Jr. It came because of actions by our government, which passed legislation that demanded equal treatment under the law. Observing King’s birthday serves as a reminder to us all and helps educate our young people who otherwise would have no memory of that America of the not so distant past. “We must never forget!” — Rose Warren Simpson, GranburyMartin Luther King Jr. was a charismatic, effective agent of change. Due to the circumstances of his death, martyrdom, he has become the embodiment of the civil rights movement for most Americans. The change in American culture away from the notion that skin color determines worth and toward the idea expressed in the Declaration of Independence that all persons are created equal, was present when our country was founded and has been gaining ground ever since. It is this cultural change, even more than the man, that is celebrated on Martin Luther King Day. And it is for this reason that MLK Day will be meaningful for a long time. When the culture change is complete and we no longer have a reason to remember, MLK Day will become like many other holidays, observed but mostly not understood. — Joel Downs, Hurst The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was the epitome of a pioneer in his leadership and movement for equality and justice for all races, not just blacks. His superlative articulation, education and ability to gather crowds and motivate them to get the cause in motion and turned into law is unequaled. His charisma was indelible, and observing his life and time on MLK Day is appropriate as a remembrance for his achievements.There are roads and freeways named in his honor in recognition of his stewardship to his fellow man. He was indeed a man of his time. — Delbert Cantrell, Fort WorthI feel that observing this date every year helps us to rejoice and reflect on the life of Dr. King.We rejoice because of the great man he was and great things he tried to do in this country by trying to eliminate a segregated and racist society while at the same time promoting equality. And we reflect back on his life because it was cut down so early that he did get to see some of those things that he spoke about in his “I Have A Dream” speech — when “one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.”Observing this date every year helps us rejoice and reflect because it’s not just a day off, it’s a day on. His dream still lives on not just on that date or that year but every day of the year, and we are the beneficiaries. — Karl Bradley, Fort WorthMartin Luther King led a crusade to reverse social injustice that prevailed in this country for 200 years. Some saw him as a radical, but was he a divine messenger sent to right years of wrongdoing? Making changes in a society set on maintaining the status quo would not be easy. A violent struggle would only bring more harm to a race of people that had little help from outsiders. This is why he invoked Mohandas Gandhi’s methods of nonviolent confrontation followed by the unwavering masses that yearned to achieve his dream. There are those who want to put all of this in the past, but the present social problems in this country, including crime and the multitudes in prison, are a direct reflection of the past. How can one forget?Things are changing, but if education and compassion had been this country’s foremost contribution at slavery’s end, instead of hate and alienation, we would not have the social problems we have today. They would have been erased by accomplishments and elevation in social status. — Ron Tovar, River Oaks
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