At 6:01 pm on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr., an American clergyman and civil rights leader, was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. A single bullet, fired by James Earl Ray from a boarding house located just across the balcony of Room 306 of Lorraine Motel where King was standing, entered through King’s right cheek and severed his spinal cord. He was pronounced dead an hour after he was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital.
The then President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning. After years of campaign and a petition with 6 million signatures for King’s birthday to become a holiday, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill in 1983 to designate the third Monday of January of each year as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is also around King’s birthday, January 15. Today, 48 years after the fateful day, Lorraine Motel at 50 Mulberry Street in Memphis is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum.
While many of us regard the holiday as a time off from our busy lives, may we be reminded of how this holiday came about and why.
May we be reminded of a great man and for all the brave people who fought for civil rights equality through peaceful means, even at the cost of their own life.
May we honor the legacy Martin Luther King and the brave souls left for the country and the world.
May we immortalize the values of equality, courage, non-violence, justice, human dignity, and love.
May we never waver to educate the generations to come of the respect and peace we all ought to give one another.
May we remember this important mark in our history, especially at times when our values as a nation are threatened.