President George W. Bush on Monday hailed civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. as a towering figure and called on the country to honor his legacy by showing compassion to those in need. "It's fitting that we honor his service and his courage and his vision," Bush said during a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library with first lady Laura Bush. His comments came on the US holiday honoring the birthday of the slain leader, who would have been 79 on January 15. An advocate of peaceful resistance and equality for people of all races, King was assassinated in April 1968. The president said that the federal holiday in King's memory is "an opportunity to renew our deep desire for America to be a land of promise to everybody."