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01/19/2013

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, I was honored to serve at the memorial of a true American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I was just one of hundreds of thousands of people across the country who stepped up to serve and pay tribute to a man who spent his life serving others on the 2013 MLK Day of Service.

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The landscaping service project was organized by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and his team. Volunteers from Greater DC Cares, the Student Conservation Association and the Sierra Club turned out to beautify the Memorial. We spent much of the day mulching the greener parts of the memorial, preparing the plants and trees for winter. The event was one of several taking place on the National Mall as part of the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s Service Summit.

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Secretary Salazar shared with us the distinct honor he felt when he unveiled the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during President Obama’s first term. Salazar praised the President for his deep commitment to telling a more complete American story. In addition to the opening of the King memorial, President Obama designated the fourth national monument of his presidency, the César E. Chávez National Monument in California. The designation will protect many sites important to César E. Chávez and the farm workers' rights movement.

On this day, I am reminded of something that Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” While my service is at best sporadic, I can’t help but think about the volunteers that make up the Sierra Club outings community. Each year, thousands of volunteer outings leaders give of their time to ensure that others have equal opportunities and access to experience the great outdoors. My hat is off to all who serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and every day.

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