Lt. Tim McMillan (Ret.)
The Greatest American To Have Ever Lived.
Today is the day we celebrate the life of the greatest American to have ever lived. That is correct; I said the GREATEST single American to have ever graced this earth. To date, there is not another American who has achieved, so much for so many; against the odds of significant opposition as Dr. King did. Dr. King was the first American to dynamically fight for America to be the country it was supposed to be when the nation’s independence was declared on July 4th, 1776. Sure, Thomas Jefferson may have written the Declaration of Independence. Additionally, it is also a fact that 56 delegates of the first Continental Congress signed a document asserting the creation of the sovereignty of the United States of America. However, it wouldn’t be until August 6, 1946, when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper published a letter to the editor by a then 17-year old Martin Luther King Jr; did anyone so assert the truth contained in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” I don’t care what one was taught in school growing up. I don’t care who’s faces are on the money that most of us lack. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the greatest American to have ever lived. George Washington for all intents and purposes had the advantage of fighting a foreign power on his native soil. Dr. King had to fight a native enemy on his native soil. He was an exile in his own land and he never once lifted a finger in violence to gain victory. There is no other American who was born into a more disadvantageous situation and was still successfully able to rise to being the leader of a revolution that would finally send America in the direction of being a national identity of righteousness and equality than Dr. King. Too often in modern times we disrespect what it was that Dr. King stood for. Many people today diminish the battles he fought and ultimately died for. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not simply an African American Rights Activist; he was a Civil Rights Activist. He fought for equality and never cried out for any one person to have more than another. Rather, he said we were all entitled to equality and a fair chance in life. “And when this happens, and when we allow 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!” Those are the closing remarks in Dr. King’s immortal and iconic “I Have a Dream Speech.” Too many people today, know only the title given to his legendary speech, and they have never actually listened to it. I was horrified to learn last year that the school systems in our area don’t even play the video of Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech” primarily because he uses the word “negro.” Look, I am very sorry that the word “negro” is not reflective of the appropriate vernacular of modern America. However, when Dr. King made his speech on August 23, 1963, indeed the term negro, was considered the politest word for African Americans, and it superseded the term “colored.” Don’t refuse to allow our children to hear the power in Dr. King’s words, simply because, white people, you had to have Malcolm X point out to you that “negro” had a long history of being associated with slavery, segregation, and discrimination. Lest, we forget it’s extremely offensive ethnic slur that was once popular, and thankfully is not universally referred to by all non-racist jerks by the euphemism “the N-word.” Instead of avoiding conversations with our children about words that make you feel uncomfortable. How about you use Dr. King’s speech and the words he uses in it to educated our children and demonstrate the fact that “negro” is now considered offensive, shows EXACTLY just how much Dr. King was able to achieve. So with that in mind, I am passionately urging every single person, to take a moment to consider the great sacrifices that Dr. King made for all of us; and think about what each of us are doing to honor and continue his dream. An unspeakable evil took the greatest American away from us. However, now it is our responsibility to continue to fight to make that Dr. King’s dream is a reality. No matter what, we can never let his dream die with him.