When (God willing) my wife arrives in America later this year, I plan on taking advantage of my geographic location (central North Carolina) and embark on a short journey with her for an important purpose; to introduce her to the American revolutions that have made this country what it is today.
We will venture to Yorktown, to see the battlesite where the First Revolution was triumphant and foreign tyranny was banished, the ideals of America finally secured for generations to come.
On to Appomattox Court House, where the Second Revolution reached its apex and domestic oppression left for a time discredited and defeated.
To Washington D.C. and the war memorials which honor those who risked and sometimes gave their lives to defend the freedoms at the heart of the American Revolutions and save the world from violent enslavement at the hands of fascists and communists.
Lastly to Memphis, TN and the Civil Rights Museum, where the Third Revolution is explained in vivid detail; how America’s honor was redeemed and the energies, talents and dreams of all its citizens finally released to be harnessed for our potential national greatness.
*Chirol reminds me of the obvious! If anyone is near these areas in the fall (after September) I would love to take the opportunity to at least have a cup of coffee or something with you.
Why did Indianapolis not burn in April ’68 like so many other American cities when MLK Jr. was assassinated?
“On that night, Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to give a campaign speech in downtown Indianapolis, when news of the assassination of Martin Luther King reached him. Rejecting the advice of many around him, Kennedy continued toward the inner-city playground where he was to give his speech, undeterred by a police warning that they could not provide him with protection if things got out of control.
There, a raucous, happy crowd — unaware of the tragedy in Memphis — waited for the candidate to arrive. Kennedy informed the gathering of King’s death, and an audible wail of agony rose from the crowd.”
What followed was one of the great speeches in American history, less than 5 minutes in length, by a man who was not a saint but certainly a patriot and could not stay silent and allow the voices of fear and hatred to rule the night.
April 4, 1968
I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.
In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.
Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.
So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.