January 18, 2000, was the first ever Martin Luther King Jr. day to be recognized by all 50 states, and on that day for students, it was probably something that stuck everyone’s attention. Now here we are, Martin Luther King Day 2010 and it’s like all it stands for is a day off from school, or a nice three day weekend, which is awesome but still not what this day is supposed to stand for. Don’t get me wrong, we have done a lot since then to create awareness for this holiday, for example specials at the local museums and news stations playing his famous “I Have A Dream” speech on the TV and radio, along with parades but lets be honest here; how many of today’s students do you really think are going to be at home patiently waiting to see all of these things? The answer, unfortunately, is not very many. We’re going to be sleeping over at friend’s houses and uploading pictures and videos on Facebook; thanking god that we have off from school, while totally forgetting why we’re off in the first place. It’s not only students though; many adults still go in to work and come home late just as if this were any other day in the year. My own parents didn’t even have off from work. I think we all need to realize this is a HOLIDAY.
This third Monday in January isn’t just a good Monday because we have off or because we should have off; its one of those holidays that further defines what America stands for: equal justice and opportunities for all people who live here. It’s a day of celebration, and peace; a day to be thankful for all that Dr. King has done for America, and a day to realize how far America has come since the years of slavery. I feel like we often lose sight of Americas past, and how it relates to its present. Although we as a country have improved eons in civil rights, it doesn’t mean there aren’t still some underlying civil rights problems in our country today to be accounted for. To me, Martin Luther King Jr. day should be a day to look at America in a wide perspective, the good bad and ugly, and just recognize that we need to continue to live up to our motto: “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” We need to be brave enough to stand up and keep our land free for everyone who wants to be in this country.
We as students don’t need to over-do-it to better recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, just somewhere in-between your gossiping, texting or whatever else you might be doing; remember why you’re not sitting in school right now wishing you were home.