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Leading by Example–Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King

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Every day working here at Southwest Airlines, I hear the concept of Leading by Example.  The concept is applied to everything from our work, to our Internal and External Customer Service, to our personal lives.  Leading by example is much more than a concept; it is a way of living at Southwest.

I’ve been a devoted follower of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life and how he led by example.  His life was filled with great achievements, and I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned by following his life:

Education is first:  “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”  As a young boy, Dr. King knew he saw the world differently, and understood the power of education.  He pursued a higher education in a time when opportunities where not abundant. He had the charisma, he had the intelligence, but education was the key to the world. 

Your time is now:  “We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today.” At the age of 35, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.  He did not wait for the right moment; he seized the opportunity and defied all established rules. 

It’s never over:  “We have come a long, long way, but we still have a long, long way to go.” Although Dr. King became a Pastor at the tender age of 25 and had left our world at 39, he left a legacy that opened the path to transformation in today’s civil rights.  The journey is not over.

Believe in Love:  “I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world.” In the midst of the worst time of his life, he still loved the cause.  Martin Luther King never gave up and his upmost inspiration was Divine Love.

Serve:  “Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”  With a Servant’s Heart, Dr. King turned around a Nation and sacrificed his personal wellbeing to make a better world.

Today we celebrate his life, his achievements and best of all, the freedoms we enjoy from the sacrifices Dr. King and many others made to open the land of opportunities to all of us.  In my opinion, his greatest achievement was to bring together people from all walks of life in one belief, that we all are equals.  Celebrate today his life and his memory and ask yourself life’s most urgent question: what are you doing for others?