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Administrator O'Keefe's Corner
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls. Dr. King Holiday Observance

January 17 will mark the 76th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's birth and the 19th commemoration of the National Holiday created to honor this great humanitarian, visionary leader and champion for social and human justice.

Dr. King showed the nation the powerful moral force of nonviolent social change. His vision of peace, unity, and human dignity was honored when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. In accepting this honor, Dr. King observed that: "Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind." As NASA moves toward a transformed agency, we continuously seek opportunities to help create a better nation and a better world.

Our nation honors an American who dedicated his life to the fundamental principles of freedom, opportunity, and equal justice for all. His devotion to helping others reflected the true spirit of service and citizenship, and his example continues to motivate individuals to serve causes greater than themselves. America has demonstrated this principle most recently in its outpouring of support for the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster.

This year's theme for the observance, "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On ... Not A Day Off," reiterates the importance of remembering Dr. King's work, celebrating his birthday as a national holiday, and acting on his teachings of nonviolence as applicable to civil and human rights issues. It also serves as a reminder that the holiday is a day on for community service initiatives and programs promoting interracial cooperation, not just a day off from work or school. We hope that you will honor, in some personal way, Dr. King's legacy to strengthen communities, empower individuals, and bridge barriers.

In remembering Dr. King's vision and life of service, we renew our commitment to the NASA Core Values of Safety, The NASA Family, Excellence, and Integrity. We are a diverse team whose members are bound together in the most challenging and rewarding endeavors and strive to advance the principles of equal opportunity and diversity in all of our work.We are proud of our space program's success in presenting to the world the strengths and talents of American men and women of all backgrounds and our ongoing efforts to develop truly international partnerships. As Dr. King also observed in his Nobel Peace Prize speech: "I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible - the known pilots and the unknown ground crew."

Sean O'Keefe
NASA Administrator

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