Monday, September 02, 2013

Fifty Years Later

Student assembly address:

There are a few seminal moments in our nation's history that everyone remembers until he or she dies. Your great grandparents certainly remember December 7, 1941, the date we were bombed by the Japanese in Pearl Harbor. Your grandparents likely will remember July 20, 1969, as the nation huddled around black and white TV's and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, saying "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." They also remember November 22, 1963, the date that our 35th president, John Kennedy, was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Your parents remember, and perhaps you remember, vaguely, September 11, 2001, the date five thousand Americans were killed when terrorists ran two planes into the Twin Towers of New York City, drawing us into a war that we're still fighting today. 

These events are etched into our corporate memory, partly because they shocked us, partly because of the power of what the event symbolized, partly because the event changed us as a country in some deep way. 

Last Wednesday, August 28, was the 50th anniversary of another event that is forever locked into our corporate memory: The civil rights march on Washington D.C., punctuated by one of the most famous talks in our nation's history, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I thought it appropriate, in place of my usual remarks at assembly, to honor this anniversary by listening to a portion of that speech this morning. As we know, Reverend King was assassinated less than five years later, on April 4, 1968. 

May we have the courage to live out the strength of our convictions and to stand against all forms of discrimination, wherever and whenever we may encounter it. 

No comments: