40 years

I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.

Those are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoken in 1968 at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. At the time of his death forty years ago today, Dr. King was crusading to end hunger and to end the war in Vietnam. His views on that war caused a great deal of controversy at the time. He was branded “unpatriotic” and was widely criticized, not only by white America, but also by many leaders in the black community. The photo above was taken by Sgt. Curt Cashour of the U.S. Army of two soldiers with the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division standing guard at a market in Al Doura in Baghdad. And so it goes…


This is an angel photo-manipulation I did last week. Her name is Nyah, which means purpose in Swahili. I thought the name suited her because she looked so confident and wise. When I think about Martin Luther King today, the life he led and the legacy he left behind, that word comes to mind. Purpose. Whether you describe it as a calling, a sacred contract, or a personal legend, Dr. King followed his path despite the hardships he knew he and his family would endure, despite sensing it would bring about his own early death. In his last public speech made on April 3, 1968 he said, “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land!”

Dr. King set an example of living a life of purpose. But you don’t have to inspire a revolution, become a Buddhist monk, care for the poor in India, or start a megachurch to lead a life of purpose. Each time you make a decision that is unselfish and giving you create a ripple, a moment of goodness that will join others and become part of a swell, a wave in an ocean that will ultimately make the world a better place.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)