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When I think of the Civil Rights Movement, I instantly think about my parents growing up in a time where black people were being jailed, beaten and often killed for standing up for themselves and demanding the rights afforded to all people in America by the United States Constitution. Dr. King sacrificed his life at such a young age to lead a movement that would inspire the world. It all comes down to service and sacrifice. I served in the United States Army and learned at a young age that sacrifice is necessary for our freedom. Freedom has never been free. Someone paid the price for others to be free. Dr. King and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement fought diligently for equal rights. There are still challenges in America, but there are more opportunities present today than in the 1960s for Black Americans.

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King is “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” We must all give and help others along our journey to success. What I admire most about Dr. King is he showed us how to protest by using non-violence and to stop supporting a system financially that treated Black Americans so poorly. When Rosa Parks would not give up her seat for a white passenger, the movement was ignited. Dr. King led the Montgomery Bus Boycott which lasted for 381 days. It is often viewed as the first grand protest against segregation. The financial impact cannot be ignored. Many estimate Montgomery buses lost more than 35,000 fares daily during the boycott. The boycott ended over a year later when the buses were integrated.  What is even more astounding is Dr. King was 26 years old leading such a historic movement.

Dr. King influenced American leadership to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which changed America for future generations. His dream came true! I am thankful for his service and sacrifice that allowed me to grow up in a better society. I am inspired to do much more in my life to help others!