Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I was a kid when MLK was assassinated; my memories of the civil rights movement of the 60s are vague, as vague as my memories of space shots. Yes, I'm doomed to have lived the 60s without LIVING the 60s, so to speak.

I didn't know what a Nobel prize was when King was so honored in 1964, but his acceptance speech still strikes me strongly. Here's a little bit. (The full text is available at the NobelPrize site.)
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men
other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaimed the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!

Rest easy, sir. I hope someday we do manage to live up to your dreams and hopes.

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