01/16/06 — A living dream: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles resonate today

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A living dream: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles resonate today

“I have a dream.”

Those words will live on forever.

Even nearly 38 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lost his life to an assassin’s bullet, his message of freedom still resonates among Americans of all races.

Dr. King did not advocate freedom for just black Americans. His call was for justice for those of all races, ethnic backgrounds and social circumstance.

He challenged all of us to think more about our own actions — and how they relate to creating a world where peace and love were more important than position and skin color.

Dr. King challenged people of all races to talk about their perceived differences and asked those who would protest against racism to use peaceful means to get their message across.

And his words drew thousands to the fight against injustice in all forms.

He helped change the world — even years after his untimely death.

On Martin Luther King Day, which is held annually on the anniversary of King’s birthday — this year would have been his 77th — men and women of all races sit back and look at where we have been as a nation and how far we have come as both relate to the principles Dr. King taught.

And their conclusions are almost universal each year — we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

To continue that progress, we must, as a nation, make sure that Martin Luther King Day is more than just a day off from school for the millions of children who are at home today.

We need to talk to them about the struggle for civil rights and the stories of the heroes who stood up at a time when their message was not one many were ready to hear.

We have to talk about the Montgomery bus boycott, the march on Washington, the bridge in Selma, Ala., and a lady named Rosa Parks.

And we should also remind our children that there were people of all races who fought — and died — for the civil rights cause.

Those lessons, as well as a few reminders about personal responsibility and honor, will make sure that Dr. King’s message of peace and justice is not just a passage from a history book, but a call to service for generations to come.

That is the kind of dream that we all should treasure — and one that will truly honor the man who gave his life in pursuit of freedom and justice for all.

Published in Editorials on January 16, 2006 11:37 AM