Monday, January 16, 2017

Five Years On

I first offered the words which follow five years ago. In light of the rate and pace of change, and not all of it for the better, in the last half decade, I'm more than a little surprised how true this still rings.

If we here in the Land of the Red, White and Blue Round Doorknobs can't make it a three day holiday, we may not observe it at all. Yesterday was the 88th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
James Earl Ray made sure he would never have to blow out all those candles by murdering him almost forty-nine years ago.

The deaths of American icons I hope you read about in history class while in school, JFK, Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy, I was alive for all three and lack the words to tell you what we were like as a nation before each of their passings. I trust you'll believe me when I tell you we are a better nation if not always better people because they lived.

I was a high school sophomore, a pimply too-loud white preppie kid, wandering around our nation's capital, Washington D. C., on a school trip my father organized that ended up right through the middle of Resurrection City, at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, just weeks after Dr. King's assassination.

I was stunned at the scale and scope of the settlement, the audacity and eloquence of the vision that propelled and compelled it into existence and the pervasiveness of the poverty and despair that made it inevitable and necessary. Reinventing American society so that the reasons why it had to be done would become history and aren't a part of our present or future, is a piece of the legacy of Dr. King.


Today across the country there are ceremonies and commemorations. Ours in Norwich at City Hall starts at half past one this afternoon with some speeching, a little preaching (I suspect), as well as singing followed by a march to Evans Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church for warming words on what is usually a typical New England winter's day and then we'll all go home, back to the lives we lead and the people we are.

I hope this year across this country we seize a moment from whatever we do today to celebrate the dream of Dr. King, make it our own and keep it in our hearts. And then, beginning tomorrow for all the tomorrows which remain, use that dream as a fulcrum, as he did, to change the world. Again.
-bill kenny      

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