It’s Martin Luther King Jr Day

LINCOLN – Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day, a federal holiday as well as a one for most states.

Federal, state, and county offices are closed, as are banks and financial institutions, and there is no mail delivery but most schools have classes as usual.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will speak today at a luncheon in Omaha honoring Dr King and will use the occassion to sign a proclamation declaring today as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Nebraska. Over the weekend, he issued his Martin Luther King Day message.

In it, Ricketts praised Dr King for the way he “confronted racial injustice with steadfast courage and a principled commitment to nonviolence,” and how “his eloquent leadership advanced the cause of equality and civil rights for all.”

The governor wrote that King “taught Americans that true greatness comes through service, that love is stronger than hate, and that character-not race-should distinguish us,” adding that his “speeches and his personal example continue to inspire us to seek peace and pursue justice.”

Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to “draw inspiration from Dr. King’s life and reflect on how we can be an agent of unity, charity, and hope for our neighbors and everyone around us.”

Congress created Martin Luther King Jr Day to both honor the memory of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader and as a general celebration of the civil rights movement and equality. It was first observed in 1986 and is the 3rd Monday in January, sometimes falling on his Jan 15 birthday.

It is also a National Day of Service, proclaimed by Congress in 1994, to bring together people from different backgrounds to meet needs in their community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that leads the Day of Service effort, say more than 10,000 service projects are planned in all 50 states to address a multitude of pressing social issues from poverty to hunger and the dropout crisis.

Volunteers and project leaders from around the country will be posting videos, blog messages, tweets, and photos in real-time throughout Monday that capture volunteer activities in their communities. To track what is happening at service sites and find local volunteer opportunities, visit mlkday.gov.

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