The ultimate measure of a Man is not where he stands
in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands
at times of challenge and controversy.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Were Doctor King alive, today he - and this nation - would be celebrating his 85th birthday. History teaches us that he was killed long before he had a chance to enjoy his 85th birthday. So long ago in fact that he did not live long enough to celebrate his 40th.
It is possible for one person to so touch the lives of those people with whom he or she comes into contact that the impact of that person's connection continues to reverberate long after that person has died. Such is the case with Doctor King. You may find it instructive today - as I did when I sat down to write this piece - to spend a few moments reading some of his speeches or - better still - listening to them. An extraordinary man who was unafraid to pay the price he ultimately paid in furtherance of that which he considered to be important.
Important not just to him and to his children but to you and yours and to me and mine. If you look out at the Lake of Time you still see the outward-expanding ripples moving forward in concentric circles from his life. In the fourth and one-half decades since his murder they have not stopped. And for the sake of all of us, I hope they never do.
Wish big. He certainly would appreciate the sentiment....