Martin Luther King, Jr.
"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (from the speech delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.) Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Few individuals have touched contemporary world history as he has. He was a man in the business of hope. While cognizant of and outraged by injustice, he chose the way of peace and hope and promoting that hope to a people disadvanted, discriminated against, and disheartened. To listen to his speeches and to read his quotes, I am always saddened to know that such a truly special man lived a very short life, unable to give more to humanity. My African American friends celebrate this day. I celebrate this day, too, as it marks the memory of an extraordinary man, whose words and thoughts continue to eccho through modern history, reminding us all that good leaders can help people overcome their despair and find a way to be seen, heard, and acknowledged for their rights without the need to resort to violence. How can I not be filled with respect for a man who said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." I so wished there were more people and more world leaders like him.