King earned our respect, honor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heroes rarely are flawless or free of criticism.

It’s only the history books and the expanse of time that allow us to gloss over the human flaws of our heroes and remember them for their accomplishments and public convictions.

Almost all of our nation’s founding fathers — historians will tell us — were far from perfect. They were driven by ego, greed and a thirst for power; others were sometimes crippled by their own lack of self-confidence or arrogance.

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Yet, the goodness and overall success they embodied made them rise through the ranks of history.

A man or woman’s legacy shouldn’t be the list of sins other sinners place upon their memory.

Rather the focus should be on their core beliefs, innate integrity and indisputable values for which that person fought.

A few critics created much fervor in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed the law creating a national holiday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday marked the 25th anniversary of that official federal holiday. Even today, a few ignorant folks scoff at the holiday citing King’s humanness as just cause.

But despite critics, history will paint a picture of a man who helped lead our nation — against some popular beliefs — to a new, more equitable place in history.

And he did so by promoting peaceful protests rather than force of will or violence.

For that leadership, he earned the respect of the nation and the honor that America bestows upon his memory.