2015 Martin Luther King Day
This Monday, January 19th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a day to commemorate and honor the life and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s actual birthday is January 15th, but it has been celebrated as a federal holiday every third Monday of January since 1986. There are many events to celebrate the civil rights leader taking place in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. In 1994, Congress transformed the Martin Luther King Jr. Day into a National Day of Service. Volunteers participate in community service activities such as tutoring, handing out community meals, working in a food pantry, or cleaning and/or painting school buildings or community centers. President Obama and his family participate in volunteering events every year, including painting school rooms. Last year, 58,000 children and teens were tutored by volunteers, 360,000 people received emergency food and over 38,000 veterans, military families and active duty military service personnel received assistance spearheaded by volunteers.
Martin Luther King Day Events in Baltimore and Washington D.C.
There are many events in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. taking place on January 19th. There will be a special wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at 8 am. The Memorial is on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. The focal point of the memorial is a 30 foot statue of Dr. King, carved into the “Stone of Hope” combined from two large boulders. The two boulders, the Stone of Hope and Mountain of Despair”, are words from Dr. King’s memorable “I Have a Dream” speech. The text of the famous speech is carved into the rock. There is also a 450 foot inscription wall, made from granite panels, which are inscribed with 14 excerpts of Dr. King’s sermons and public speeches.
Parades will also be held in Washington D.C. and Baltimore on January 19th. In Washington, The 9th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Walk and Parade takes place starting at 11:30 am at 2500 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. with the parade following at noon and ending at Leckie Elementary School. Baltimore will be hosting the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade presented by Forman Mills at noon. There will be over 50 groups participating in the parade including marching bands, honor/color guard, equestrian units, dance squads, civic organizations and floats. The parade kicks off at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Eutaw Street and ends at Baltimore Street. The parade is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts. The Washington National Cathedral will host a celebration to honor Dr. King’s life from 2 to 4 pm on January 19th. There will also be a special event starting at 6 pm at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts called “Let Freedom Ring” with singer Natalie Cole.
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