Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. - A Man of Wisdom

Do I remember where I was when John Kennedy was assassinated? Yes, I do. I was a cadet at West Point, and I marched in his funeral in Washington, DC. When Bobby and Martin were assassinated, I was a lieutenant serving in Germany as a Hawk missile battery commander. The following year, I began my tour in Vietnam. Those were troubled times.

Yesterday, I was in Austin at the University of Texas basketball arena watching the Longhorns come from behind to beat Texas A&M. The arena is on Martin Luther King Boulevard. I'm not sure if I've ever been in a city that didn't have a street named after him.

Martin Luther King is a hero of mine, and a hero to many. He's remembered for all kinds of reasons. I remember him mostly for the things he said...

CHARACTER - "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."

COMPASSION - “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

COURAGE - "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."

EXCELLENCE -  “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven wrote poetry.”

FAIRNESS - “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

FAITH - “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

FORGIVENESS - “The old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.”

GENEROSITY - “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

LOYALTY - “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

OPTIMISM - “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” 

SERVICE - “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. has taught me a lot about personal strength. 


Meredith Bell said...

This is a great collection of quotes, Denny, and a wonderful tribute to one of the true visionaries of our time.

Kathleen Scott said...

Great post. He had astonishing vision and courage.

Lori Meyer said...

Thank you for reminding us of Dr. King's generous heart and incredible perspectives on life, justice, and love. What a tragedy that his voice was silenced when he was only 39 years old, but what a gift he gave us during his short time on this earth.

Jon said...

A great tribute, as well as some fundamental principles to remind and refresh us. Thanks!

Unknown said...

So great for his meaningful words that continue to change lives even when he's gone. thanks for posting