If you are one of the roughly 33% of Americans whose employers recognize Martin Luther King Day by giving you the day off from work, then you probably know that this year it falls on January 19th. You probably also know that Dr. King was the main spokesperson for the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement in America and that he was assassinated in 1968. You might not know that his birthday, which is actually January 15th, is one of only four federal holidays that commemorates an individual person (can you name the other three?) and that the holiday was not widely embraced at first. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was only in 2006 that the day was officially observed in all 50 states. As my grandmother Winston was fond of saying, “Right minded things sometimes take time to settle in.” While she may have lacked a certain eloquence, she did know what was what.
I cannot help but think about the historic election of 2008 and marvel at the irony of the Inauguration of America’s first African American president coming one day after we celebrate the life of the man who accomplished so much for Civil Rights in such a short amount of time. It reminds me that, although this country may have a ways to go to be a truly equal land, we’ve come a long way. And for that, I am proud.
Those of you who tune in regularly know about my pen fetish, so it should come as no surprise that today’s offering is a Cross Pen. I imagine President Reagan signed the holiday into law using a Classic Century 10 Karat Gold Filled Ball-Point Pen, a pen worthy of such a weighty task. Of course it’s entirely possible he used a plain old Bic, but given Mr. Reagan’s theatrical past, I assume he preferred a writing instrument with a bit more flair. I love this pen so much that I am sending one to the Oval Office in the hopes that our new President will use it to sign a few bills into law. I too, have a dream.
Well, I’m off to listen to the “I Have A Dream Speech” on my ipod. Until next time, remember, “The time is always right to do what is right.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.