Though most Americans will commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., on Monday -- the official holiday -- today is the civil rights pioneer's birthday. He would have been 80 years old.
President-elect Barack Obama, who will be sworn in Tuesday as the nation's first black president, called on citizens to take up service projects in the spirit of Dr. King.
"To honor the legacy of a man who lived his life as a servant to others I will ask all Americans to make a renewed commitment to serving their communities and their country," Obama said in a video posted on YouTube.
Obama said he and his family, along with the Bidens, will take part in service projects around Washington, D.C. and asked that Americans visit USAservice.org to find service projects in their neighborhoods.
Gen. Colin Powell also reached out to Americans and asked them to volunteer their time not just on Monday but throughout the year.
"Make a commitment to join Americans of all 50 states who will take part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and then think about how you can continue to serve your community throughout the year."
Dr. King was born in 1929 and successfully protested racial discrimination and other inequalities through nonviolence. He was assassinated in 1968.