Today the United State celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to do some quick reading on Wikipedia and enrich myself by learning more about Dr. King and what he did for this country. Now, I’m not starting from a place of total ignorance here, I do remember learning quite a bit about Dr. King in school, and I understand the huge sea change he worked so hard to bring about… but up until I started reading about him this morning, I mostly understood all that through the eyes of a teenager. It seems that like so many things, adulthood brings an entirely different perspective.
Do you all realize that Dr. King was only 39 years old when he was assassinated? 39 years old. To my 16-year-old ears, 39 was a number lost in the ocean of middle age, which as far as I was concerned started at 30 and ended at 60, when you officially became “elderly.” Needless to say, I have a different opinion on that whole middle age thing now, as I approach my own 30th birthday this year. Now lets all stop and look at what this man was able to accomplish in his 39 short years on this planet, how can you not be inspired? Taken one step further, we find that he won the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE at 35. Thirty-five.
I don’t want to get into a huge retelling of the man’s entire life story, I’m sure there are any number of amazing books out there that we could all go read, but I am really glad that I took the moment to stop and think. How can we be anything but grateful to this man, who changed so many things for the better, who fought so hard to be a voice for peace in our world. We need more men like him in this world, and our world is better for his having been in it.
I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., describing how he’d like to be remembered.