During the Thanksgiving holiday my family and I traveled to Washington D.C.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
At the Lincoln Memorial I stood in the same spot where Dr. King proclaimed his dream.
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.