Events are scheduled around the United States to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as the nation marks the 25th anniversary of the holiday in the civil rights leader’s honor.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama planned to mark the day by participating in a service project in Washington.

“Martin Luther King Jr. lived his life for others, dedicating his work to ensuring equal opportunity, freedom and justice for all,” Obama said in a statement. “I encourage every American to observe this holiday in honor of Dr. King’s selfless legacy by volunteering in their own communities and by dedicating time each day to bettering the lives of those around us.”

A federal holiday to honor King, who was assassinated in April 1968, was first observed in 1986. In 1994, Congress also designated it a national day of service.

A video posted on, the U.S. government website dedicated to the day, quotes King: “He who is greatest among you shall be a servant. That’s the new definition of greatness. … By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

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