The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929. The civil rights leader made a worldwide impact as he preached non-violent activism throughout his abridged life. The highlight was when Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in combating racial inequality. After he was assassinated on April 4th 1968, a national campaign to observe his birthday on the 3rd Monday in January was in full force. President Ronald Reagan made it official during his first term in office as this is billed as a day of total remembrance and that has been the case since 1983.

This observance should NOT be just another day off for some as residents throughout The Berkshires and our surrounding tri-state region should dedicate this Monday as "A Day Of Service" to assist those less fortunate or designate an act of kindness and good will to show your support on the similar efforts Dr. King preached. A prime example is to volunteer your services for a few hours, despite the inclement weather that is expected on Monday. By "paying it forward" you will do your part in honoring Dr. King's legacy. The action is in conjunction with the the Federal agency AmeriCorps that also provides grants to organizations who partake in this yearly honor.

Here are some regional events that are taking place on Monday to honor Dr. King, weather permitting:

A virtual program "MLK Day" will be presented by our friends at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on Monday from 1 to 2 pm. Call the museum to reserve your spot for this historical hour long presentation.

The Connecticut Science Center based in Hartford will hold an all-day exhibit to commemorate the holiday on Monday between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. For more details, log on to their web site.

For those who want to hit the slopes and reflect at the same time, Ski Sundown located at 126 Ratlum Road in neighboring New Hartford, Connecticut (just east of Winsted) will offer discounts to winter sports enthusiasts. And how apropos, it's supposed to snow on Monday! Dang the irony on this one!

A celebration of Dr. King's life entitled "Labor and Community United For Social Justice" will take place on Monday from 2 to 4:30 pm at The Sanctuary For Independent Media, located at 6th Avenue in Troy, New York (about a one hour drive from The Berkshires). For more information, log on to their web site by going here.

What is open OR closed on January 17th (also the Feast Day of St. Anthony):

CLOSED: ALL city, county, state and federal offices, schools, banks and public libraries.

There will be NO mail delivery on Monday

The New York Stock Exchange will also take a day off from Wall Street in my ol' hometown as they observe the Federal holiday schedule.

There is NO BRTA bus service scheduled for Monday. Normal schedules resume on Tuesday morning.

OPEN: Local businesses have the option of staying open which includes small businesses and restaurants. Supermarkets should be operating on their normal schedules. A suggestion: Call or check adjusted hours on the world wide web.

(Some information on this article was obtained via Wikipedia and www.syracuse.com)

LOOK: 50 essential civil rights speeches

Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

Keep reading to discover 50 essential civil rights speeches.