Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the official holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. In all of American history, King stands amongst the many titans who have made this nation the greatest to have ever existed. Honoring him recognizes not just the man but a belief in the American dream fulfilled, a dream that all Americans can reach with hard work and inner strength.
Abraham Lincoln spoke in the Gettysburg Address of a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Through many struggles and the immense cost of the Civil War, America worked to achieve that proposition. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. stood with Lincoln’s grand monument in the background to speak of his dream that all men would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This paramount moment in American history should be celebrated by all citizens on this day, not just African-Americans.
His dream embodies all that America stands for, even when the night of history seems the darkest. His inspirational speeches speak to those who may believe that dreams cannot come true or that dreams are close in spirit but distant in reality. One lesson of Dr. King is that the American dream belongs to everyone, all religions and all races….the promise of our great nation. America and its ideals asks only one thing in return for this promise: each and every citizen must try, must make an attempt to reach for the dream that may seem elusive on those hardscrabble days but so rewarding when the dream is realized in words and deeds.
King strived to better America, believing that this nation was founded on a promise that had not been kept. Today this nation has grown to find no equal in this world for treatment of people of different races and religions. We are the melting pot of the world that accepts everyone with fairness, kindness and generosity. America is today the nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
So as the celebration of Dr. King’s life is held today, he is a reminder of all that America has been and all that she shall remain. Each of us must dream of lives and successes inspired by King’s efforts. When you fail in your attempts to fulfill your dreams, as an American you stand up, take your lessons and try again. The greatest sin that is the legacy of both the founding of America and the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream is to surrender your dreams to failure. Should you never dream or you lack perseverance then you have failed before you have even tried. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words inspire but his dedication to his dream in the difficult days of Birmingham through the success of his rally in Washington DC show what can be done in America. There are no mistakes or failures that cannot be redeemed in this nation. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
Americans dream and when we fail we take the lessons and set about the repairs. Today we dream of better days ahead despite any differences of opinion. This nation has tackled far more difficult tasks and so today’s problems will soon be conquered…..so long as the American dream lives on.