Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 18, 2023
Martin Luther King Day

The reason for many holidays appear to have taken a back seat to the purpose or memory that holidays were designed to commemorate.

Monday, Jan. 16 was Martin Luther King Day, a federal and state holiday. Government offices, post offices, banks, schools and even garbage pick up services were closed. 

It was 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that made the third Monday in January Martin Luther King Day. 

King’s actual birthday is Jan. 15, but following the federal Uniform Monday Holiday Act the day is celebrated on the third Monday in January.

By 1999 every state except one — Utah — had followed suit and adopted the third Monday in January as a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King.

In 1986, the Utah state Legislature made the third Monday in January a holiday named Human Rights Day. In 2000, Gov. Mike Leavitt signed legislation renaming the state holiday Martin Luther King Day.

The day commemorates the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. 

Better Homes and Gardens reminds us that Martin Luther King Day was created as a national day of service. They encourage people to use the day to volunteer and make a difference in their communities. They also encourage people and families to take time during the 3-day weekend to learn about Martin Luther King and his teachings.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a statement about Martin Kuther King Day. He said:

“As we remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we must recommit ourselves to the ideals he advocated for: civil rights and an end to discrimination.

“Dr. King wisely said, ‘Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.’ We must find our way back to loving our neighbors as ourselves. And we must infuse our political discourse with respect, even when we disagree. This kind of civil engagement takes resolve and courage.

“Let’s take that first step together. Let’s move forward as we form a more perfect union.”

Not a bad idea. Martin Luther King Day has come and gone. But it’s not too late for civility and love.

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