WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha sing "Happy Birthday" to first lady Michelle Obama on her birthday January 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participated in a community service event at the stuart Hobson Middle School Service Project. to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in a painting project at a school on Capitol Hill.
On the federal holiday named for the slain civil rights leader, Obama brought his family to Stuart Hobson Middle School, where he and the first lady helped paint apple characters on pillars in the
lunchroom to encourage healthier eating.
Obama said King's legacy is also about service and urged Americans to get out into their communities on Monday.
He said that after a painful week following the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., a day of service is a good reminder of what the country is about.
Monday also happened to be Michelle Obama's 47th birthday. To mark it, the crowd at the school sang the Stevie Wonder version of "Happy Birthday," which the musician wrote to honor King.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people showed up in the cold Monday morning for the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day walk in Southeast.
This was the fifth year for the two-mile march along Martin Luther King Junior Avenue, which is one of the nation’s first corridors named after the civil rights leader. Neighbors, students and 40 area organizations participated.
King is the only U.S. citizen in history who did not serve as president but is honored with a federal holiday.
Planners say this was the final Peace Walk. They are planning to reinstate the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade next year.
King once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"
Residents from around the region have been paying tribute to King's legacy this holiday weekend, both through cultural events and acts of service.
Here is a round up of some events on Monday:
The Garden Open Mic Featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Monday, January 17, 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., at Bloombars, 3222 11th Street NW, Washington, D.C. Attendees are invited to bring their favorite excerpts from M.L.K.'s speeches and writings to read on stage. Hosted by Jonathan B. Tucker, of the Busboys and Poets DC Slam Team. There is a $10 suggested donation.
"King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis" screening Monday, January 17, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md. A riveting compilation of documentary footage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Montgomery bus boycott to the "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial, from the dogs of Selma to the Nobel Prize and the fateful motel balcony in Memphis. With narration and commentary from Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, and others. Free to the public. Tickets available at the box office on Monday only, limit 4 per person.
City Year MLK Service Day Monday, January 17, 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Kramer Middle School and project sites around the Anacostia neighborhood 1700 Q Street, SE, Washington, DC. City Year is organizing a host of service events to help revitalize the Anacostia community, including small construction projects, planting gardens, and painting murals. Most projects will involve painting; volunteers are advised to wear old clothes.
Samaritan's Feet National Day of Service Monday January 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Central Union Mission, 1350 R St. NW Washington, DC. Nonprofit group Samaritan's Feet will distribute 500 pairs of shoes to residents of Central Union Mission. Distributions will also take place at the Georgetown Ministry Center and Rising Hope Methodist Church in Alexandria, Va.
Joel Elias Springarn Senior High School Day of Service Monday, January 17, 10:30 a.m., at Spingarn Senior High School, 2500 Benning Road, NE Washington, DC 20002. Volunteers will refurbish the school building with some much needed paint, murals, and minor repairs.
Greater DC Cares Holiday of Service Monday, January 17. The volunteer organization is organizing projects across the Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. area on Monday. Check their website for more details.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Monday, January 17. The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, has set up a website to help Americans find a volunteer project in their town on Martin Luther King Day. You can search for more ways to volunteer at their website here.