Trump administration honors Martin Luther King Jr., a 'Christian soldier'

By Susan McFarland  |  Updated Jan. 15, 2018 at 1:07 PM
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Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Members of the Trump administration on Monday commemorated Martin Luther King Day, honoring the memory of the civil rights' legend during a special ceremony at a memorial dedicated to him in Washington, D.C.

To mark King's 89th birthday, a wreath laying also took place during the ceremony, which included remarks from Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, FBI Director Christopher Wray and King's son, Martin Luther King III.

Wray said "lack of equal opportunity hurts all of us, discrimination against one person hurts the whole community and hate against one becomes hate against all."

Zinke said King was a "Christian soldier of righteousness," adding the nation has an obligation to make sure the justice, equality and battle faced every day is fought and won.

The holiday is fast becoming more popular than Presidents Day, with about 42 percent of U.S. businesses giving employees the day off to observe the civil rights leader's birthday, a poll from Bloomberg indicated.

Among government and non-profit organizations, including hospitals, schools, 72 percent give employees a day off with pay. Also on this day, the U.S. stock market is closed.

Google paid tribute by posting a doodle on the company's home page marking the federal holiday. The drawing shows colorfully dressed people, including a little girl sitting on a man's shoulders, gathered on Washington's National Mall to listen to the Nobel Peace Prize winner speak.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying it is a day to mourn his loss, celebrate his legacy and pledge to fight for his dream of equality, freedom, justice and peace. During that ceremony, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew, said the day should be spent helping others, not spent hanging out at the park around the barbeque grill.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen visited the Martin Luther King Memorial on Sunday, and laid a wreath of their own during a private reflection.

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