MILFORD, Mass. – Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, lights a memorial candle for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a ceremony celebrating Dr. King’s birthday at the Massachusetts National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters here, Jan. 18, 2011.
Dr. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Ga. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., while standing outside his hotel room, April 14, 1968
“We celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he served as an important inspiration to countless American’s who otherwise would have been given in to the despair that naturally flows from exclusion, discrimination and hatred,” said Carter. “Even today, Dr. King’s life and work continue to inspire and motivate people throughout our nation to live up to the best attributes of humanity, so that each and every person can be a full partner in the life of his or her community and lay their rightful claim to the bounty of America.”
On Nov. 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 98-144, which designated the third Monday in Jan. as a legal holiday celebrating the birth of Dr. King.
Today, Dr. King’s birthday is observed in all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries.