Our Opinion: Emulate MLK’s commitment to serve

News Tribune editorial

Today’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day is designed as “a day on, not a day off.”

After the holiday was created in 1983, Congress in 1994 designated it as a national day of service.

The intention was to encourage citizens to emulate King’s commitment to “service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers and create solutions.”

Advancing the message of service is among the responsibilities of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The group’s website at mlkday.gov reads: “Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live — creating the Beloved-Community.”

Gov. Jay Nixon referenced the National Day of Service when he announced on Friday that $5,379 collected during a free-will offering at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and has been donated to the Samaritan Center. “The giving of time and talent goes hand in hand with giving donations to help our neighbors and our communities,” the governor said. “The National Day of Service puts a special emphasis on giving one¹s time, and strives to inspire that spirit year-round.”

We echo his call to action.

Our community and our state benefit in countless ways from the time, talent and resources generously given by volunteers.

Acts of service bring triple benefits.

First is the aid to the person who is served.

Second, an act of service advances the cause of groups dedicated to help, even when the action is not taken as a member or on behalf of the group.

Last, service is its own reward. An irony associated with selfless acts is they enhance a sense of self-worth.

Reward yourself with a “day on” today – and throughout the year.

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