More than a half century ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital.

In arguably the most famous speech of the civil rights movement he spearheaded throughout the 1960s, King’s message was one of equality, and of hope.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

On Monday, America will take time off to reflect on Dr. King the man, and his message. On Jan. 24, Fort Hood will pause again to do the same. An observance is set for 1:30 p.m., Jan. 24, at the Phantom Warrior Center featuring Rex Thomas, Fort Hood Equal Employment Opportunity manager, as the guest speaker. The event is open to all.

America is a different place today than it was more than 55 years ago when those words helped to change a nation … for the better.

On Monday, before heading out to fire up the grill or partake in your favorite leisure activity, take a moment on your favorite internet search engine and actually read Dr. King’s words.

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968. Though the man himself has long since left us, he left us with this dream … his prayer for the American people. He concluded his “I have a dream” speech like this:

“This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: ‘My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!’

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”