On August 28, 1963, I was three days away from my 5th Birthday when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his memorable speech in DC. I can remember listening to his words with my grandfather over the radio.The first words spoken on that day to open the “I Have a Dream” speech were: “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” LOUD, STRONG, MAGICAL is the way those first few words reverberated in my mind. As I watched my grandfather (aka Pop-Pop) listen and take in the moment on that hazy and hot summer day, I can still remember the level of attention and intention my Pop-Pop had on his face and in his eyes.
The best way to share what that look was like for me at five years old, is via the above pic. That’s me running track in junior high school. My focus was only on the run and the race; my eyes ahead and clearly looking forward; anticipating the first turn on the track and handing the baton off to the next runner on our relay team. That was my grandfather’s look on August 28, 1963 too.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the proverbial lead-off leg in the race to affect BIG change in our nation…I’m so happy to be alive to see the “baton” passed tomorrow to Barack Obama. Thank you, Dr. King!