When I was reminded of today's anniversary of Dr. King's death, I found this piece I wrote four years ago. This was published in the Lowell Sun, and also most likely appeared on All About Us: A Dracut Weblog.
"Today is January 11, 2002. It is the four-month anniversary of our nation's nightmare. Or was that the day we woke up to what's been going on
in our world? Before September 11, I would hear reports from other countries
of bombings, shootings and other acts of terror and misery. I would grimace,
shake my head, and move on. After the attacks, I felt so many things, most of them were miserable. Especially some degree of shame and guilt for not caring enough when this sort of thing had been already happening elsewhere. Now, I know that we as individual humans simply cannot champion every cause, nor fight every instance of injustice. And the attacks of 9-11 were quite unlike anything the world had witnessed in recent history.
But I can't help but think what a shame it is that it took such an evil act to wake up a lot of us. And here we are, four months later. Today is January 11, 2002. A week or so shy of Martin Luther King’s birthday. I had been planning on using his "I Have a Dream" speech in my Sunday school class next week. I wanted to draw parallels between his speech and Isaiah 11: 6-9 - "...the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat..." This is also referred to as "Isaiah's Dream". It would not surprise me if Dr. King used Isaiah's dream as inspiration for his own speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It is this speech that inspires me today. Here I find so much that applies to our current needs:
...It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment... 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual... But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.