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Recently, we had friends over for dinner and we took turns pontificating as we read from “dinner party topics” cards. One of the conversation starters gave me pause: “In order of importance to you, rank the following: faith, love, freedom.” I put love first, faith second and thus freedom fell to the rear.
I talked at length, and with passion and conviction, about what love and faith mean to me. Then, I stumbled over my words when it came to freedom. I was dumbstruck that I didn’t have the words nor the experience to accurately convey what “freedom” meant to me. I don’t know what it’s like not to be free. I’ve never known a life without freedom as I’m blessed to live in a place and time where freedom is simply an “is”…like the air I breathe.
Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. born on January 15, 1929 and assassinated at age 39 on April 4, 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr. paid a price for having a dream and this is something to fall on my knees and be humbly grateful and thankful for…to acknowledge him and the legions of men and women who devote their lives to making my freedom an ever present reality and something I can’t separate from simply breathing. Freedom is not free.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s delivered his best known speech at a march on Washington in 1963, 5 years before he was assassinated. What does freedom mean to you?
I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
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.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.