Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King conquered hate with love. He gave his life so that our lives might be filled with more love, tolerance and forgiveness. If you think I am overstating that, I invite you to listen to the speech he delivered in Memphis the night before he was gunned down. He knew what was coming. His closest advisors suggested he get out of Memphis. But he stood tall so that millions of others might do so too. Here was the Code of Honor in application; not just theory. He never compromised with his own reality. His integrity to himself was more important than his body. His self-determinism (nay, pan-determinism) and his honor were more important than his immediate life.
Here is one relevant portion of the night before his assassination captured on film toward the end of the speech:
I suggest you listen to the entire speech on this day of remembrance. There is much we can learn from it. You can find it in two parts at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2EnnclLMX4, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySGDMdQaDA0. The transcript can be found here if you would like to read along: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm
I find it very relevant to from whence we have come, where we are at, and where we are going. It is about being a man or a woman and standing for what is right and what is just. About being counted as a human being. About standing up straight so that the man cannot continue to make you crawl. Or as King himself said in this speech:
“Whenever men and women straighten their backs up they are going somewhere because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.”
Regardless, of whether you find any parallels, today is the King’s day. I don’t think it is too much to ask that we take twenty minutes to listen to, and reflect upon, his final public words.