Monday, January 19, 2009

Jan. 19: A True Public Service Day

By Sylvia Gurinsky

When a national day honoring Martin Luther King was created in 1986, the first idea was to celebrate the life of the principal of the civil rights movement. It has evolved into much more: A day - THE DAY - for national service.

Clicking on will take the viewer to numerous community projects, including feeding the homeless, building a house, teaching a class or conducting a clothing or food drive.

Many people say this year's King celebration has more meaning because of what is scheduled to happen at noon tomorrow - the swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

That's not true, however. Any King celebration has more meaning, whether happening in a momentous time or not, because of the people who live up to these words King said in February, 1968:

"If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant."

(Source: MLK Papers Project Sermons at Stanford University: "The Drum Major Instinct")

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