Monday, January 17, 2011

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My friend Ross Moulton posted a beautifully written piece on his thoughts concerning Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his blog today.   A very worthwhile, moving read. Hope everyone is having a peaceful holiday.

xx Cory

"It’s not very often that a human being is awarded their own national holiday. The scarcity of such an honor implies a notion of unparalleled achievement and prestige. In the United States, we have three holidays of such distinction. The first holiday is named in honor of a man responsible for leading a crusade against tyranny and unfair taxation. George Washington was ultimately responsible for dethroning the greatest monarchy in the world with an army of misfits lacking any sensible means of appropriate resources. The second holiday is named after a man who sailed into the infinite abyss and physically founded our great nation, Mr. Christopher Columbus. He was a man driven by a blind faith in the unknown despite the inherent risks. Suffice to say, you had better hold some pretty impressive credentials if you want your name included in this discussion. Arriving fashionably late to the national holiday talk is the incomparable civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Without saying, his accomplishments could extend well beyond a blog space, but lets look at a few. Dr. King entered college in the racially afflicted South at the tender age of 15. He was a pastor that led his own congregation at the age of 25, roughly the same time that we are still learning the intricacies of leading one person, ourselves. He led one of the greatest boycotts in the history of the world, lasting over a year and ending bus segregation in the South. His various sit ins and acts of defiance, among them the Birmingham campaign, the Albany Movement, the St. Augustine protest, Bloody Sunday, ultimately leading to the greatest civil rights legislation this country has ever seen. Dr. King delivered one of the most riveting speeches of all time in Washington in 1963, intimating his dream and calling upon us to see the people of this world as equals.

He did all of this with an admitted knowledge that he would probably not live to reap the benefits of racial equality. He lived under the constant, consuming threat of death. His house was bombed, he was stabbed in the chest, he was arrested and imprisoned, often refusing bail to prove his determination and undying willingness to succeed in his mission. After he was ultimately assassinated, his autopsy revealed a heart reflecting that of a 60 year old, rather than the 39 years he had endured. Take the occasional stress in your life, times it by 10, and then do it six times a day. That was the life of Dr. King. He sacrificed more than you or I probably ever will. He saw a world unjust in its practices of humanity and attempted to change it, despite the ultimate cost.

I was thinking recently about the numerous holidays that we celebrate as Americans and our methods of observation. Our moments of remembrance are often qualified, encompassed by brief recognition of newspaper headlines, possibly a few minutes viewing a TV tribute. We often take for granted a day off from work as just that, a respite from our normal activities, attributed to the greatness of another human being we never knew. It’s not our fault really. Once you celebrate something annually for an extended amount of time, it tends to lose its’ novelty. I’m writing to you today to ask you to carve out a few minutes this Monday on your day off from work. To take a pause in your indulgences, and to think for a moment about the sacrifices Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made for the progression of humanity. You’ll be better off for it."

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