The Americans traditionally honored during national holidays this month and next exemplify the leadership and set the example that makes our nation so great. 

As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day and celebrate the contributions of leaders who guided Americans and helped build our nation into the leader of the free world, we can remember the leadership principles of service and commitment to the nation and its citizens they embodied as we take stock of what we can do as Americans to drive our nation into a new era of progress.  The courage and light they employed to drive out darkness and advance freedom can be seen in many areas of our communities and nation.

Idahoans work each day to fill our communities with kindness and positivity.  Last year’s vandalism of the inspiring Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho has been countered with some of the leadership principles stressed by these leaders, as resources poured in to repair and enhance the Memorial, and Idahoans move forward with a positive spirit of renewal and inclusiveness. 

Thank you to the countless Idahoans who see needs, both big and small, and work to fill the needs.  Idaho is brimming with problem solvers and giving individuals.  The Corporation for Community and National Service ranks Idaho fifth in the nation for volunteer service and reports the following highlights of service in Idaho:

  • 34.1 percent of Idaho residents volunteer;
  • 382,220 volunteers;
  • 37.5 volunteer hours per capita;
  • 53.42 million hours of service;
  • $1.1 billion of service contributed; and
  • 53.5 percent of residents donate $25 or more to charity.

In view of our nation’s Capitol building stands the Lincoln Memorial.  Etched on the wall of this tribute to our nation’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln are the words of some of his most memorable speeches.  This includes the words to the Gettysburg Address that contains a reminder of the core of our nation’s founding, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” 

As we celebrate the lives of extraordinary leaders and pay tribute to their great accomplishments in strengthening the diverse cultural history we have in America, we are reminded of the importance of ongoing efforts to ensure equality and justice for all Americans.  Honoring the legacy of those who have given so much for the advancement of our freedoms requires vigilant pursuit of the fundamental principles of equality and justice.