EDITOR’S NOTE:  The need to remember the events of this day 45 years ago is just as important today as it’s ever been.

As usual, the meaning behind April 4 to me has to do with the lyrics of a song.

“Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your pride …”  — U2, “Pride (In The Name of Love)”

Apparently, I’m guessing, I’m not alone.  I wasn’t even planning to write about this until I was looking at my blog stats for Wednesday, and a couple of terms people were using for Google searches jumped out at me.

  • “marthin luther king avec les drapeau usa” — that got two hits, probably part of the reason why I got three views from people in France yesterday.
  • “picture of martin luther king jr with american flag”

They were pointed in the direction of my MLK Day article, “It’s all about making A STAND!” that has become one of my highest-viewed articles in the nearly five months that I’ve been doing this blog.

They were pointed in the direction of this photo I found on Google Images …

If I were a betting man, I’d put money down that people were drawn to it because of what happened in Memphis 44 years ago on April 4.

And why was Dr. King assassinated?  It wasn’t because he spoke of anything anti-American.  Was it just because he dared to speak up, and when he did speak up he spoke the truth?  Was it because he was, dare I say it, black, and as a black man he dared to speak up and speak the truth?

Is that really stretching the truth?  I don’t think so.  Because even today, given eyewitness accounts and even 911 recordings showing what George Zimmerman said on the night he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to death (“F***ing coon!”), it’s almost safe to say that we still have a long way to go to reach that promised land that Dr. King spoke of.  I still see people questioning any racial motive Zimmerman may have had in shooting the black teen, even when Zimmerman’s own words on a 911 recording can be used against him.

People still have a problem accepting the truth, even when it’s right in front of their eyes and passing through their ears.  They just choose to only believe what they want to believe, the truth be damned.

Of course, people are free to believe what they want to believe.  This remains a free country, where people are free to say whatever they want.

With what we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, however, as we reflect at the same time on MLK’s death 44 years ago and the words that he spoke so soon before his death, it’s just sad that we still have such a long way to go to live out Dr. King’s dream.

The truth remains.  Dr. King may be long dead and gone, sad to say, but the truth will always remain.  For those who would fight so hard to deny his words and his legacy, that’s what scares them to death.

3 thoughts on “THE BEST OF THE VIEW: What April 4 means to me now

  1. Nice post, John. Having spent time years ago living in Europe, I was struck by the color-blindness of the majority of the European populace. In so many ways they have integrated cultural variance while maintaining distinct cultural integrity, too. It has always given me hope for our own country; hope that we will grow into what our ancestors envisioned when this Nation was founded by those who came here seeking tolerance themselves.
    And we can’t stop there, either. We have yet to be able to look past our differences in beliefs, sexual orientation, political parties, and beyond. Now can we expect the world to look upon us as a model of democracy and freedom when we have so little tolerance for each other? We can’t extend to the world what we have yet to learn to extend to our fellow countrymen.

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