Today marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr by James Earl Ray. Although many of us are too young to remember King while living, his legacy still burns brightly in the national consciousness.
King bravely led the civil rights struggle for racial equality to new heights. He reminded our nation that the First Principle of equality articulated in our Declaration of Independence - that "all men are created equal" - had not yet been fulfilled. King's efforts led to the passage of historic civil rights acts that ensured racial equality in voting, employment, and public accommodations.
Although he was slain, he remains a great inspiration to new generations of Americans. That is not to say that the struggle for equality has ended - we have much progress to go - but we should acknowledge with great reverence the sacrifices of the generations before us as we look forward to fulling the pledge of equality.
In addition, King's life expresses what it is to be an American - to have the ability to assemble, speak, and publish freely about the issues of the day - and to challenge the government in its most basic policies. In most nations in history - and many today (witness China, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Libya) - these basic unalienable rights have been and are denied by oppressive governments.
These are the reasons, among other reasons, that Patriot Week celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. on September 15. Join us at www.patriotweek.org