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Locals celebrate holiday for different reasons

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant many things to many people during his lifetime and beyond. Each year Americans keep his spirit alive by celebrating his birthday the third Monday in January as a national holiday.

The holiday means much more to us than just another day off work. To many this day is a time to reflect on how fortunate we are to be free and motivation to push forward to extend those freedoms.

Saralyn White, of Demopolis, said the holiday is a day of love and caring.

“To me Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day means a day that gives us peace of mind knowing that he cared for all people,” White said. “He believed in justice and that we should all be free and be able to live together in harmony.”

Others see the holiday as a celebration of liberation.

“It means freedom most of all,” said Demopolis resident Sasha Allison. “That’s what the day really means to me…freedom.”

For others the holiday is hard to summarize. Clinton Mullins Jr. said the holiday means many different things to him, but most of all it reminds him of the historic struggle King endured.

“It is really hard to say because it means so much,” Mullins said. “It is a reminder of history. Without history we don’t appreciate these things.”

Mullins said the holiday helps keep the memory of the struggle fresh in people’s minds.

“Without a holiday people may not give it that much thought,” Mullins said. “It is just a reminder of history and everything he stood for to me. Every country has things they go through and this was a big part of American history.”

One of the biggest messages people take from the holiday is the idea that we are all the same deep down inside and should treat each other with respect.

Gloria Pope said King’s holiday should inspire us to strive for this goal everyday.

“He fought for everybody’s freedom,” Pope said. “It is just a reminder to everybody to treat everybody like Christian folks do. Everybody has the same blood and no one should be treated any differently than anyone else. That is what I really think it is all about.”

Others see the holiday as a reminder of the struggles many took on so that future generations could have an easier path. One anonymous Demopolis resident said many endured harsh treatment during the civil rights movement and we should use the holiday to remember and honor their fight.

“It signifies a lot,” she said. “It is just a way to let us know how all the people died and suffered during the civil rights movement just so we could all walk where we want and go where we want. We can all go places we used to not be able to go and we shouldn’t take their hard work for granted.”

While people may have different interpretations of the holiday’s meaning they all agree it is an important reminder to Americans of a great man and a great struggle.