King#039;s dream still should be our goal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

When we think of Martin Luther King Jr., our memories paint a picture of a vibrant man in his late 30s spreading his message of equality to all who would listen. It's hard to believe he would have been 75 years old this week.

And, while it may be hard to think of Martin Luther King as a senior citizen, it is even harder to imagine what he may have been able to accomplish if he moved past middle age.

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King's lessons are ones from which we could all benefit. He was a man who preferred to use the power of words as opposed to violence. He spent more than a decade of his life trying to inspire a nation of many colors to break down walls of bigotry that separated races in this country.

King cited the words of our forefathers to show why blacks and other non-whites should not be treated as second-class citizens and why they, like all men and women, deserved basic civil rights.

He stood tall and unwavering in his message, despite death threats, the bombing of his home and being stoned by a mob as he marched for open housing in Chicago. He exemplified bravery, all because he had a dream.

While King's dream has not yet been fully realized, we are making progress, thanks in large part to his powerful example, his dream has indeed become closer to reality.

If King were living today, he would still be working toward achieving his dream. While many others have stepped up to the plate to continue what King started, none have been able to do so with such eloquence and restraint.

Schools were closed and many of us had a day off from work yesterday, but how many of us really took the time to reflect on why we observe Martin Luther King Day?

You do not have to be black to appreciate what Martin Luther King did for America. His message, and more impressive his will and inner strength, have made us all better people.