DEAR READERS: Today we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a martyr of the civil rights movement and a great American who was shot to death in 1968 at age 39.
His persistence in the face of violent opposition and his eloquent pleas for social justice propelled him to international prominence. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King's principles of nonviolence were based on the teachings of Christianity.
His words of wisdom are even more meaningful today than they were in 1963, when he spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said (in part):
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.' ... And this will be the day ... when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, 'My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where our fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.'
"When we let 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.'"
God bless our great country, the United States of America. And may we Americans, by our conduct, be worthy of God's blessings.