Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

Iowans gathered at the State Historical Building today for a celebration in recognition of the Martin Luther King Junior holiday. Governor Terry Branstad read from a proclamation honoring King.

Branstad read that it is appropriate for all of us to review our own attitudes and to reaffirm the American ideals of freedom, justice and opportunity for all. “And whereas this is when people of all races, religions, classes and stations in life, should put aside their differences and join in an effort to bring peace to our world,” Branstad read.

Branstad, created a moment of levity in the ceremony as he finished the proclamation. Branstad started to say 19 for the year, but paused, and then corrected himself and said it was 2011. This drew a laugh from the audience. Branstad says King set an example that is still relevant today.

“A commitment to service is something that we want to encourage everybody to do, I think that’s how we can make a difference,” Branstad says, “And Dr. King truly was the leader in showing us a life committed in service to others, so I am very proud to sign the proclamation and present it.” Redmond Jones was the master of ceremonies for the King Day program, and talked about King and how his actions apply to today.

Jones says in light of recent current events, the tragic shooting in Arizona, he says one of the great lessons of King is not just what he fought for, but how he made his “extraordinary” achievements in civil rights. Jones says King was called an extremist, but his methods were much different.

Jones says King accepted the label of “extremist” saying “I want to be an extremist, but I want to be an extremist for love. I want to be an extremist, but I want to be an extremist for justice.” Jones says King fought with enormous passion, with an enormous powerful voice, but did it in a way that was completely non-violent. The proclamation and Jones’ remarks were part of the 23rd annual state ceremony celebrating M.L.K. Day.