A message from the secretary on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2016


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On Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs pauses to join the nation in remembering and celebrating the great American leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his immeasurable contributions to the character of our country.

In his eloquent words and in the peaceful, compassionate life he lived, Dr. King gave our nation an inspired and inspiring vision. He had a clear purpose for his life, and it guided how he lived and treated others. We would all do well to think about and learn from his powerful example of a life driven by purpose.

On February 4, 1968, in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King delivered a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  In this remarkable homily, he described his purpose: “We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade,” Dr. King said. But what was most important to him, he explained, was quite simple. That was to be remembered as one who “tried to give his life serving others…to love and serve humanity.”

Though many years have passed, Dr. King’s lesson is relevant to the way we conduct our own lives. It encourages kindness and patience in how we treat one another. It shapes how we might consider the unique and often unspoken personal experiences and challenges of our friends, families, colleagues, fellow citizens, and the Veterans and families we serve—and to whom we are devoted. And it reinforces the virtue of our own I-CARE values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” Senator Robert F. Kennedy reminded in 1966. “These ripples crossing each other form a million different centers of energy and daring, build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

So this year, as we remember Dr. King, let us consider dedicating or re-dedicating ourselves to our own purpose or to discovering our individual purpose if it is not clear. Join me in a commitment to make a positive difference in the life of people every day.

Thank you for your service to our nation’s Veterans, and God bless you all as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Author

Bob McDonald

Comments

  1. William Asbury    

    Here we honor a man who caused nothing but chaos every where he went and this “Nation” gives him a holiday. Schools and government offices close needed commerce stops. Some communities even have parades. What he accomplished was a 94% increase in the crime rate of the US and gave his kind rights by stripping those who fought for them of theirs! .Yet come veterans Day it;’s business as usual. We had parades but tired of having feces thrown at us. We had memorials but his kind tore them down or defaced them America has lost it’s sight of decency and lowered its priorities to the point I am sorry I am an american and that I served in its armed forces.

    1. ANthony Scimone    

      You are wrong my friend, I may have only been a young boy of 11 or 12 before he was assasinated but I can say with all honesty that Martin Luther King held only peaceful demonstrations.
      The men who really are responsible for the chaos and increased crime rate is the POTUS Obama, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson.
      Then you have corrupt Mayors like Rahm Emanual of Chicago and Bill de Blassio of New York, and the black Mayor of Baltimore and her black atty general stirring the pot, and a black Councilman calling for civil disobedience.
      Dont dishonor your country or your service by letting the likes of these people bring you down. I have had very similar feelings these past years but I wont be defeated by them. I dont hate America or my beloved Marine Corps, I hate the policies and immoral politics that have devalued them and I will voice my opinions where ever and when ever possible to try and change those policies!
      Semper Fi

  2. Bettye Mercado    

    What an awesome tribute for a man that accomplished so much even in the face of controversy, enemies and at the plight of a race war era. I am honored to have be an American/African American female (Retired) Soldier from Southwest Georgia. I truly understand the meaning of freedom in more than one way. We have come a long way however we are reminded by actions taking place all over our country daily, that the battle continues, and freedom is not free.

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