Separate drinking fountains. People restricted as to where they could sit on a bus. Soldiers called upon to protect children going to school. Grandfather clauses preventing blacks from voting.

Just 40 years ago, these were just some of the realities for blacks living in the United States. This week we celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, the most famous and revered of all the civil rights activists.

Jan. 21 not only means a day off for town officials and school children, but a time to honor the life of a very remarkable man.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed," said Dr. King during the Aug. 28, 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial. Over 250,000 supporters attended.

Today, as yesterday, we still continue to strive for equal acceptance. While some advances have been made, African Americans are still not allowed an equal playing field when it comes to employment and acceptance in certain organizations.

When a person of any race, creed or religion hears "I have a dream…," they immediately reflect on Dr. King and all the good he did to advance human rights. We are reminded of a desire to live in a world where all people are considered equal.

This country has celebrated Dr. King's life nationally since 1986. The unmatched efforts of this passionate civil rights leader should never be forgotten, as we should remember the influential man's efforts every day.

Arizona became the 50th and final state to make Martin Luther King's birthday a state holiday. Wallingford became the final town in Connecticut to officially give its town employees the day off recently. Children in every state, city and town across the nation deserve a day off to celebrate the life and tragic death of this national hero.

While Dr. King was a great man, he was by no means a perfect man. Recently, stories have been coming out about his affairs with various women and his family has recently come under fire for supposedly "selling out" his memory for the sake of commercials.

None of this should in any way affect the way we remember Dr. King. This man wasn't preaching about his personal life, he was preaching equality, something we all deserve.

Find some time to reflect on all he did to advance equality. And then spend a few minutes pondering all that still needs to be accomplished. And most of all, think of how very different this country would be if it wasn't for Dr. King's accomplishments.