Sunday (September 11, 2011) marked the tenth anniversary of an horrific and unparelled American tragedy. It will now also mark my family’s first visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC. To attack any part of America as on Nine Eleven Two-Thousand One is to attack all of America. Our visit to the newly opened King Memorial was at least a personal statement expressing our American “Freedom from Fear.” Our freedoms will not be easily taken from us. There have been too many battles fought for our freedoms. Martin Luther King lived; fought and died for the freedoms of all Americans. His weapon of choice was non-violence. It proved to be a most powerful weapon. He changed the hearts and minds of men and women and won a lasting, ever vigilant peace. We will not embarrass his legacy by hiding from any unsubstantial threat. King’s Memorial is a fitting tribute to the freedoms that others would want to deny us.
The Pentagon was struck a decade ago in 2001 and lives were lost. Washington is a very real target. There were threats made again this year; we answered the alleged threats by visiting a very public place; The King Memorial. It was an incredible, beautiful day…it is an incredible, immaculate monument.
The strength, commitment, intelligence and character of Martin Luther King Jr. are unquestionable. He is a deserving leader. Like all leaders he was not alone in his efforts. There were many other leaders; pivotal individuals and groups working in the “Civil Rights Movements.” Thurgood Marshal ; the dedicated lawyer, John Lewis; the student activist, Rosa parks; a woman that simply had had enough and James Peck; a freedom rider. These are a few names among the countless many who were equal parts of “The Movement” and share the glory of this massive monument. If you listen carefully you can hear their voices; feel their spirits, share their victories along with those of Dr. King’s. We are thankful for their truth and bravery; we cannot say nor do enough to honor their deeds.
I have spent a few hours around the tidal basin. The tidal basin is a small inlet of water surrounded by monuments: The Jefferson, The Roosevelt, and The Korean War reside there. You will find walkways and cherry trees that blossom brilliantly every spring. The King memorial is there now. The patriotic, the faithful and the curious are lured to the tidal basin daily and especially in spring. They are the seekers of truth, life and even something of the legendary. It is as intangible as a dream yet powerful enough to move mountains of hate and injustice…powerful enough to unite us all.