Senator Sam Brownback released the following statement in remembrance of Martin Luther King Day:
On Monday, January 15, we will pause to remember one of our nation's greatest leaders and a man who changed the course of history and America's conscience, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through his leadership of sacrificial love and devotion, Dr. King enabled our nation to cast off societal shackles and usher in a new era of charity and equality.
Dr. King dedicated his life to the advancement of individuals in need. He selflessly gave of his time, energy and his life in order to bring this country to a higher moral plateau and in so doing instilled in us that we should measure success by the "quality of our…relationship to humanity," and not by "the index of our salaries."
Today, Dr. King's legacy challenges each of us to achieve greatness through service. We hear his words echo throughout our national consciousness, "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
Several years ago, I was able to meet with Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Though the meeting was about the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, our conversation quickly turned to Dr. King's philosophy, which was rooted in his unwavering faith in God. It was through this meeting that I was able to better understand the depth of Dr. King's love, sacrifice and devotion to humanity.
This year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday observance theme is "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!" I cannot think of a better way to honor Dr. King's memory than taking part in our local communities and extending our help to those in need — not just on January 15 but everyday.
As we celebrate this magnificent man and the ideals that he set fourth, we must remember that he would expect each of us to aid those in need in our society and world-wide, such as addressing the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan, working to ensure those incarcerated in our nation's prisons are given a second chance, and strengthening our nation's families for future generations.
It is through these acts that we live up to the legacy of Dr. King. Two months before Dr. King was brutally assassinated, he preached a sermon on February 4, 1968, entitled, "The Drum Major Instinct" where he indicated how he wanted to be remembered. "I'd like somebody to mention that day [in reference to his funeral], that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others… [I] tried to love somebody…I tried to feed the hungry…I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked…to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity." This is an incredible legacy and an incredible gift that we were given by Dr. King and one that we must always strive to achieve. On this 20th anniversary of the King Holiday, we would all be wise to embrace the same objectives he had to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit those in prison and love and serve humanity.