Monday, January 16, 2017

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr

Today is the United States day to acknowledge a wonderful leader - the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.  This is the designated Martin Luther King Day, even though his birthday was actually yesterday - 15 January.  H was born 88 years and one day ago in Atlanta, Georgia.  He rose to prominence in America because of his Civil Rights work, his peaceful demonstrations, his glorious dream of a nation and world where all people were equal, and his assassination on 4 April 1968 shook the world.  He is best known in the US for his "I Have a Dream" speech; but almost every single speech or event at which he allowed his words to flow, there are great jewels of thought to sit and contemplate. I was able to hear the man speak in person only once, but it was an unforgettable event.  He brought most of us to tears that day, including my father.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

   I saw my father cry very few times when I was a child - I remember he cried the day that President Kennedy was assassinated; he cried the day he received the telegram stating that his father had died; he cried at the Martin Luther King, Jr speech we attended; he cried when Dr King was assassinated; and he cried when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.  Those were all markers in my life when I was growing up.  Each time I felt the world had changed - and only at Dr King's speech had it felt like the change was for the better.
   I am also a follower, even a "fan," of Representative John Lewis.  I was very happy when President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to Rep Lewis in 2010.  I supported his sit-in last year in the House of Representatives.  Representative Lewis is a citizen of the United States of America.  Rep Lewis was a student activist during the Civil Rights Movement - he stood by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Rep Lewis marched, protested non-violently, and convinced other students in colleges and universities to support the Civil Rights Movement.  John Lewis was beaten, arrested, hounded, and attacked for his views during that time.
  Representative John Lewis has served the 5th Congressional district of Georgia since 1987.  He is a true gentleman, in every respect. Last week, Rep Lewis stated that he did not feel that the President-Elect is the legitimate winner of the Presidential election - given all the reports by the US Intelligence agencies that Russia  has been tinkering with our news, Twitter feed, and the Wiki-Leaks trash - and that he would be missing the Presidential Inauguration for the first time in 30 years.  The President-Elect immediately denigrated Representative Lewis on Twitter, saying that Lewis was "all talk, no action" and that he had better concentrate on fixing his district which is "falling apart."
   I will say only one thing:  While the President-Elect was getting deferments from fighting in Viet Nam, John Lewis was getting almost beaten to death in the South, trying to get equality for all people.
   Guess who I'd give my life for?

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