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Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ultimate Measure of a Woman

During the Thanksgiving holiday my family and I traveled to Washington D.C.

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I didn’t write much about our trip when I returned home the first week of December. I plunged full steam ahead with Christmas themed posts. Then, the second week of December, our family was rocked to it’s very core and our lives were changed. I stopped posting for while.

It’s been only recently that I have begun to tentatively write again.

In thinking about a post for today I remembered that I had taken several photo’s of the new Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) memorial in D.C. and began to look through my pictures.

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There was one image that stopped me short. Surrounding the main memorial are several inscription walls that feature Dr. King’s most notable quotes. I remember walking around and reading them all and then taking a picture of the one quote that resonated with me the most.

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If my life were a novel then this experience might fall under the category of foreshadowing.

I remember thinking “Yes. Anyone can be a good person when life is all sunshine and flowers. But the true measure of a man or woman is how he reacts when faced with difficulty.”

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“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” Excerpt from the “I Have a Dream” speech.

On February 4, 1968 Dr. King gave one of his most inspiring sermons. It was an adaptation of the 1952 homily ‘‘Drum-Major Instincts’’ by J. Wallace Hamilton, who was then a well-known, liberal, white Methodist preacher. Dr. King encouraged his congregation to seek greatness through service and love.

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“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.”


“I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”

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“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.”

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“If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,

If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,

Then my living will not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,

If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,

If I can spread the message as the master taught,

Then my living will not be in vain.”

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At the Lincoln Memorial I stood in the same spot where Dr. King proclaimed his dream.

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I dream of being a DRUM MAJOR for righteousness, justice and peace~ what’s your dream?


You can read Dr. King’s complete “Drum Major” sermon HERE.

His complete “I Have a Dream Speech” can be found HERE.

The Lettered Cottage


Jill Elaine said...

Very inspiring;)
Still wondering what happened to your family - if you ever feel like sharing details. I understand though, sometimes it takes more than you can give to share.
Praying for you.

Linda said...

This is awesome, Laura!! Thank you so much for writing it. I have some prayers like that, I don't know if they're dreams or not though... it seems like to me at least, life is going too quickly and I may not accomplish much. I'll keep praying and see where it leads, but mostly I keep praying about my attitude in each new day. Hoping, yes maybe dreaming, that someday I might leave my old ways behind and be the person God intended me to be.
Love, Linda

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

So good to see you posting....praying and thinking of your family. Take care....I am here.

DearHelenHartman said...

That was an inspiring and thought provoking post. Thank you so much for sharing the quotes and photos today.

ImagiMeri said...

Hey Sweetie,

Beautiful piccy's and as far as I'm concerned, you've accomplished much of your dream. You're a very special, giving, and stand-up lady. I admire you muchly sweet lady.

Let me know about Tuesday.

Love ya'

Lisa said...

Such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your photos with us.:)

{darlene} said...

make it happen girl!
I love this.

- {darlene}

Designs By Pinky said...

I am so sorry that something so big has happened to your family. Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know it is very difficult to share such personal matters too. MLK was an amazing person and such a huge inspiration to MANY generations. XO, Pinky

Dumbwit Tellher said...

What you wrote was beautiful Laura. I'm so happy to see you writing again but so sorry for the pain you and your family has gone through.

God's peace,

Bettyann said...

Very inpiring post....take care..

Debby said...

Wonderful post and pictures.
So sorry that you are going through so much. I hope things will get better.

WendyBee said...

I stopped blog-surfing last Spring, and only recently started re-connecting. I had missed all of your December posts, and only today realized I didn't know anything had happened in December.
I don't know you outside of your blogging persona, but I have come to admire you and care about you, your family, your life. (It seems strange to me, but there it is...) I want to offer you encouragement on the path you are now walking. You know this already, but let me affirm that you are not travelling this dark path alone, I know God is with you, and will help you through this valley. And someday, you'll make it to the mountaintop...
Thanks for your beautiful blog posts, your inspiration, your love of life.

Auntie Em said...

Beautiful tribute for today. Powerful words which will always keep their strength.

Great photos. A perfect blue sky to capture the magnificence of the memorial statue.

Thank you for sharing! :)

martinealison said...

Une pensée particulière pour vous et ceux que vous aimez...

Une très jolie publication.
Avec toute mon amitié, gros bisous.

openid said...


Thank you for this beautifully penned, informative post about Rev ML King and your heart. You can be the drum major and I will forever be the cheerleader. We march in the same parade, my friend.


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

This is a beautiful post for today... thank you for sharing it... and I pray for you and yours daily... know that you are loved by many! :):):)

Miss Sandy said...


Your drum already taps out the tune of justice, righteousness, and peace. May God's best blessings rest upon you and your family in this new year. Still holding you all close in my thoughts and prayers.

Debbie said...

We were in DC last week. We didn't see his memorial. We're saving it for when our younger daughter returns with us.

That's a beautiful speech and quote. I just read this morning that they are going to add more of the context of it to the monument. Apparently, the original drawing had more on it.

Glad to hear it.
I love the other quote too.

gail said...

Very nice post, thought provoking. I'm hoping your family is dealing with the problem well. Thinking of you all!

Karena said...

Laura a perfect post for us right now.

When I lived in San Diego, behind my condominium was a walkway. It was interspersed with plaques and quotes from Dr King. Every time I went for a walk I was so inspired by his words.

To hold my heads high with love in my heart....that is just one of my mantras.


Art by Karena

Jen said...

Very inspiring and touching. MLK, Jr spoke many powerful words during his life. I haven't been to DC since I was in high school, so I have never seen this monument. You captured it beautifully.

I hope you are finding peace in whatever has happened within your family. I'll be thinking of you.


Hollace said...

Thanks for putting the link to the entire Drum Major Speech up. I read it and understand so much better what the whole 'drum major' idea was about. It's a fascinating message that King gave, and so valuable for us to learn and imitate.