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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 14, 2022

Message from the Commandant: Serving our communities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By MyCG Staff

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s question to a Montgomery, Alabama audience in 1957 embodies his legacy and holds relevance today: "What are you doing for others?" Observed annually on the third Monday in January, the nationwide observance in his name was signed into law in 1983 and is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service. In 2022, MLK Day falls on January 17th. The theme, "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off," inspires volunteerism and encourages all Americans to work to transform and improve their communities.

Widely considered a leading voice for service and self-sacrifice, Dr. King consistently messaged that all people - regardless of outward characteristics, beliefs, lifestyle preferences, or diverse identities - are equal members of the human family. His non-violent activism, speeches, and writings helped inspire the Nation to the principle that all people must be treated equally. Dr. King's spirit and legacy of respect embodies the Coast Guard's Core Values and reflects the military ethos of looking out for others.

Often our units are woven into the fabric of communities, many in remote locations. Coast Guard volunteer efforts may not always make headlines but are important and impactful to the communities in which we serve. Reported examples of our members providing food assistance and distribution, supporting job readiness initiatives, conducting collections for supplies or coats for schools, helping build or repair housing and playgrounds, or implementing improvements in public parks, are inspiring. The investment of our time for the betterment of all makes us "Stronger Together".

Dr. King's messages of non-discrimination and respect are embedded in our Coast Guard. We value the different experiences and backgrounds among our Service members, civilian employees, family members, Auxiliarists, and the public we serve. All members of the Coast Guard workforce are encouraged to dedicate time to support their communities through local service on this holiday and throughout the year. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, please follow guidelines for in-person gatherings and use remote collaboration platforms, websites, newsletters, or social media to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For more information about the national day of service, visit To learn more about Dr. King, go to

Adm. Karl L. Schultz, Commandant (CCG), sends.