We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today is the national holiday signed into law by President Ronald Reagan (yes, Ronald Reagan), to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a Baptist minister and activist. As a leader in the Civil Rights movement, he was known for his advancement of civil rights by the means of nonviolent civil disobedience.
Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 in a year that was anything but nonviolent.
It was the year that North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive against the United States and South Vietnam, a wake-up call for Americans that began the withdrawal of support for the war.
It was the year Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was on his way to the Democratic nomination but was gunned down in a hotel in California, just a month after the assassination of Dr. King.
It was the year that the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion sank killing all 99 men aboard.
It was the year that seventy-eight men were killed in the Farmington Mine Disaster in West Virginia.
It was a year of history that in many ways defined this country. It was a year of history that we need to remember.
In the same way, 2016 was a year of history that we need to remember. Sure, on social media the last week of the year we were all talking about how we wanted to see 2016 end.
Still, there were good things that happened in 2016, and there were good things that happened in 1968.
History isn’t all good or all bad, and that’s the way we should learn about it.
There are those who would erase the stories of the past and all the remembrances.
Dr. King would have had a lot to say about how things were in 2016. I won’t speculate on what he might have thought of the way things are. You shouldn’t either.
But we should remember his history and remember that he taught that love and respect are the better way.
Dr. King also said:
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.