A Day On, Not A Day Off

By: 
Rocío Lower

MLK Jr. Memorial

It has been 48 years since we lost Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 33 years since legislation was signed officially establishing his birthday as a federal holiday; and 22 years since Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service.

This year, join us in honoring Dr. King’s extraordinary life by committing to celebrate the day in a meaningful way.

Visit the places that interpret the accounts of Dr. King’s legacy and the civil rights movement – places of healing and dialogue. Seek to answer what Dr. King called “life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

No matter how you choose to mark the day, choose to make it worthy of the man who was so instrumental in shaping and mending this nation. Here are a few ways you can make this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a day on, not a day off:

  • Take a tour of Dr. King’s birth home at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (Georgia).
  • Stop in at the visitor center at George Washington Carver National Monument (Missouri) for a special screening of “We Shall Overcome.”
  • Hear the symbol of freedom and justice ring at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania). Join the park and the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence for a ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell in honor of Dr King’s life and work.
  • Join volunteers at Valley Forge National Historical Park (Pennsylvania) as they tackle service projects.
  • Help preserve our national inheritance at Saguaro National Park (Arizona) by picking up litter along S. Freeman Rd and S. Old Spanish Trail.
  • Engage with the momentous march and speech that epitomized the civil rights movement at www.WeAreStillMarching.com. The interactive site transports you to August 28, 1963 and allows you to read Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech and record yourself reciting it.
  • Continue the tradition of stewardship and volunteerism in parks at Greenbelt Park (Maryland).
  • Take a stroll from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Memorial at National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.). The ranger-led walk will discuss Dr. King’s dream for a better America.
  • Give back by serving your national parks during one of the day’s service events, hosted by the Student Conservation Association and American Express in New York or Washington D.C.

Dr. King selflessly dedicated his life to a belief that we could be better – that we could do better. Celebrate his legacy by learning about the past and making a better future for your community.