Monday, January 19, 2004

God Blessed America With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King is a personal hero. In elementary school, I was given the assignment of delivering the "I Have A Dream" speech on his birthday. I'm not sure if it was a national holiday then, and, for whatever reason, I didn't actually end up doing the speech. As I remember it though (vaguely), the impetus behind it was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. McNair, a brilliant and engaging black woman and teacher.

My elementary school was integrated, and the inner city kids were bused in. Many of my closest friends didn't come from the neighborhood, and were either Mexican or Black. None of us really cared about that though. The bottom-line denominator is that we loved sports, and we played football, soccer, or basketball together every recess and lunch. I loved those days, and will never forget Robert, Jesse, Reggie, and the rest.

The assignment and exposure to Dr. King changed my life. Ever since, I've been very interested in ideas and movements of liberation. It opened my eyes in those young days to realize that America was still growing into the land of freedom. After the "I Have A Dream" speech, I soaked up all the American rhetoric I could find during grade and high school (Daniel Webster being another personal favorite - "One and Inseparable").

Dr. King's dream is mine too, not to mention millions of others around the world. We should never rest until we see it awaken. In my mind, making Dr. King's birthday a national holiday is one of the best and most inspiring moves we've ever made as a people, because it assures that, in the absence of a Mrs. McNair, that all kids growing up will inevitably be exposed Dr. King's presence and brilliance. To his dream.

God bless America, and Dr. Martin Luther King.