2009 - Martin Luther King, Jr: A Life of Service

Uploaded by inauguration on 15.01.2009

I have a dream
that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
It means so much to me that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
is today before the inauguration
of Barack Obama as president of the United States.
Getting to know Dr. King, working with him,
made me a different person, a better person.
It turned me on, not just to the way of nonviolence,
the way of passive resistance,
but he also taught me a life of service.
King embodied in a very American way
the ways and means of nonviolent struggle
and constructive service in social innovation.
We're still determined to use the weapon of love.
As Dr. King once said,
everybody can serve everybody.
And if you can serve, you could be great.
It's great to forget about your own circumstances,
your own problems, and get involved
into circumstances and the problems of others.
It was citizen action that he was talking about.
It was, you know, asking what we can really do
to make our community better, make our own neighborhood
and our family better, and make our nation better.
The other side of the coin,
of service, of constructive service...
Other side of that coin was action to change things
whether in your community or in the country at large.
Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was a day to be remembered
and celebrated not as a day off
but as a day on.
I'm delighted at the way King holiday has grown,
that it's coming to these dimensions
that Barack Obama is adding.
In his call to service
that he has been making repeatedly,
he wants it to be the holiday,
to be a day when people, like on New Year's resolutions,
commit themselves to something for the whole year.
I want this to be a central cause
of my presidency.
We will ask Americans to serve.
We will create new opportunities
for Americans to serve,
and we will direct that service
to our most pressing national challenges.
Now, we're going to see the King holiday
take a quantum leap in both quality and in quantity.
This is above all a day when people
of all parties and all persuasions
come together.
And that's what I think Barack Obama and Joe Biden
are appealing to all Americans:
to do something good,
do something great.
Be prepared to serve.
Be prepared to get in the way.