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Should MLK Day Be a National Holiday?

January 10, 2011

Should Martin Luther King, Jr. have a national holiday in his honor? Personally, I don’t think so. Not because I am white and he was black. I just don’t understand the significance of honoring this great man with a national holiday.

Ronald Reagan was a great man and president. By the way, he is the one who initially started legislation to make this a holiday in 1968. It became a national holiday in 1986. Reagan has no holiday. John F. Kennedy was a great man and president. He has no holiday. Franklin D. Roosevelt, to some the greatest president of all time, does not have a holiday.

What did Martin Luther King do? He was a very good man. He was a preacher and civil rights leader who fought tooth and nail against segregation. I applaud him most heartily for that. Is it the fact that he is the face of African-Americans? I certainly mean no disrespect to any of them or anyone else for that matter. I make no light or am not attempting to trivialize his life or accomplishments. I am just trying to make some sense of the pecking order which has been established to determine national holidays.

When I was a child growing up, there were holidays for both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I can’t recall, but I don’t think school was out or anything like that. Then later on, in a push to get another Monday off, the government decided to squeeze them both into one day and called it President’s Day. I don’t think kids get out of school for that. I may be wrong.

Ol’ Christopher Columbus discovered America and all he got out of it is a K-Mart holiday. Oh yeah it’s on the calendar, but nobody cares. Nobody celebrates it as we know the term celebration.

Is it the fact that he was assassinated at a young age? I remember that day and it truly was a sad day. My heart went out to his family and those who loved him. Still, after all that, is he deserving of a national holiday? Robert Kennedy was assassinated at an early age yet he has no holiday.

John Lennon was beloved by many and had millions of fans. He was killed in the prime of life and obviously there is no day to call his.

There have been many great men throughout the annals of history. Too many to mention in this article. Many of them are as deserving, if not more so, than Martin Luther King, Jr. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Thomas Edison are just a few of the names which I personally would place in front of the good doctor.

Could it be that the country felt so badly that the blacks had been mistreated for so long? Were they just trying to make recompense for that fact? Is it technically just a Black Holiday? Just askin’. I notice that St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t get so much notoriety  outside the Irish community. No school dismissed that day, sir. Just a day for the drunks to dye their beers green, eh?

Should Cinco de Mayo be a day celebrated by only Mexican Americans?

Just some things to think about. Maybe when the government decides they need yet another Monday off each year, Kennedy, Reagan or Roosevelt may get a holiday.

© 2011 Clifton Eastham. All Rights Reserved
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