Vermont Family Programs aims to provide education, resources, and support through collaboration with federal, state, and local programs to ensure Service Members, families, Veterans, and the community are knowledgeable and resilient while promoting retention and mission readiness.

“I have a dream today ... I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight…”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

More than a quarter of a million people heard Dr. King give his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1963. Every January we pay tribute to Dr. King and all he accomplished as a civil rights leader, a minister, and as a man. I found myself thinking about what Dr. King taught me-the lessons I learned about how he lived. Can you imagine the courage it took for him to do what he did? The conviction he lived and breathed about equality? “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” In a time of great turbulence and violence, it is all the more remarkable that Dr. King advocated civil rights using nonviolent methods of activism. While attending Crozer Theological Seminary, Dr. King was introduced to the teaching of another great leader: Mohandas Gandhi. He was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. The holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. At the beginning, some states were reluctant to adopt the new holiday, but since 2000, all 50 states have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” Dr. King’s legacy lives on, I hope, in all of us. This year, participate in one of the many observance events held around our state on Monday, January 21, 2019 and pay tribute to this great American.


Very Respectfully,
Dave Leonard

Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)

State Family Program Director

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