Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his "Dream" speech, delivered in 1963. No doubt you've heard bits of it dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
They are some of the most powerful and famous words spoken in our nation.
It's important to remember King for more than a speech. He is a great leader who gave a voice to the oppressed. He did not become a national icon overnight. His Dream speech was not a one-hit wonder. This is a man who led a peaceful uprising in the face of hatred and death threats, a man who gave speech after speech, who led rally after rally, who organized protests and simply would not buckle to adversity. The uprising led to a change in culture in our country, and change of that magnitude is never easy. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs and his mission. He is a hero.
It is King's courageous spirit that we commemorate today and the rest of the week in Cape Girardeau. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated nationally on the third Monday of January, though his birthday is Jan. 15. Here, throughout the week, several events are scheduled, and some already have taken place:
* The 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast with the Rev. Rodney Moody as keynote speaker, 8 a.m. today, at the Salvation Army, 701 Good Hope St.
* Prayer Service For Our Nation., 11:30 a.m. today, at the Salvation Army,.
* The 12th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Luncheon Benefit with keynote speaker Rev. Joseph Cotton, noon today, at the Salvation Army.
* The 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Gala, 4 p.m. today, at West Park Mall Center Court next to J.C. Penney.
* Southeast Missouri State University will host the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Show Me Center. The event is part of the university's 2012-2013 Speakers Series. Grammy-winning artist and philanthropist John Legend will present the keynote address.
We encourage you to attend one or more of the events to learn more about King's legacy and the work that must continue.