January 18, 2010

remembering a dream.

Today we remember, in my opinion, one of the greatest figures in American history. For as long as I can remember I've looked up to Martin Luther King, Jr. He was in my eyes an amazing man, with a dream, a wish and the drive to make these dreams happen. I hate that his life was ended too soon. A lot has changed in the world since his important speech, but in many ways I feel we have a long way to go. I hope you will take time to remember your freedoms, and remember those who have fought to give you even more of a voice in our nation. Living in the South has made me realize through my own eyes all the things I read about in history books growing up in Maryland. I've been through Birmingham, Alabama and the cities of Mississippi, and those of Tennessee - I've seen locations where horrible acts have taken place and heard the stories. They break my heart knowing that nation could be filled with so much hate. It breaks my heart still to know inside many Americans these fires of hate still burn. Every time I see a Confederate flag I'm reminded of three things, the Civil War, the hate and honestly, the Dukes of Hazzard. (When I was a child I had no idea the negative symbolism that flag held - it only reminded me of my two favorite crime fighters, Bo and Luke Duke. I'd give anything to have that innocence back).  I dream of a day, much like Martin Luther King, Jr. did that we can put out these fires and become one. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my ultimate heroes. Who is yours?

Martin Luther King, Jr. • via google

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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Allyson said...

Nicely said, Kelly! I think that often today becomes a "3-day weekend" instead of a day to remember and honor the achievements of a man who was willing to give it all up. While we have made many strides since, we have such a long way to go with civil liberties for our gay population and equal work for equal pay. But if you don't stand up for what you believe in, then you can't complain when what you believe in is taken away.

Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition said...

I loved reading this post, it gave me goosebumps. I think this is a great reminder that we all need to spend some time today thinking of Dr. King and the amazing lessons he taught us. I hope we never forget his dream : )

Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia said...

Beautiful. Being that I'm working and hubs is nto I had to explain to oldest kid why this is celebrate. He studies abroad but he knew who he was. I have a dream...best speech ever.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad you wrote this post. I subbed in three different classes last week, but only two of them did anything on Martin Luther King Jr.

He's my hero as well. As a history student who studied slavery, and read books like, To Kill a Mockingbird, I learned that Martin Luther King brought us much father as a people and as a nation.

Iva said...

an amazing man! Happy MLK Day!!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Theresa that is so sad that most of those kids didn't know who he was - that's actually extremely appalling to me! We always learned about Martin Luther King and many other wonderful leaders when I was in school. I often think I missed the boat and should have studied more history in school. When I had the chance, I rarely paid attention - once in college I had so many art classes taking anything "fun" to learn about was unheard of and cost too much extra.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the reminder. this was beautiful!

Scientific Housewife said...

I really should have thought about him more today but I was so focused on having this day off of work. I realize it's because of a heroic and amazing man that gave us something we would have never had if not for him. Great tribute!

the southern hostess said...

Thanks for posting this! Love your blog!

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