Events celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is the day our nation celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King, obviously, is an iconic figure in our nation's history, leading efforts to ensure equal opportunities for minority Americans. It can't be overstated on the effect King had on rights for black Americans.

Today and for the rest of this week, there will be events to recognize King's contribution to our nation.

There will be a memorial breakfast at 8 a.m. today (and later a luncheon at noon) at the Salvation Army at 701 Good Hope St. Attendees are asked to donate nonperishable food items, canned goods, toiletries or school supplies. At 4 p.m. today, there will be a youth gala at West Park Mall, where a variety of area students will sing and play music in honor of King

On Wednesday, Dr. Clarence B. Jones, who helped draft King's "I Have a Dream" speech, will be the keynote speaker at Southeast Missouri State University's annual celebration dinner. Tickets are $20 and are sold at the university's bookstore or by going to semo.edu/mlk.

We hope everyone takes some time this week to reflect on King's life and message.