Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Marking the Day

Today we mark the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and the I Have A Dream Speech by Dr. King.  I wasn't even born when this historical even took place, yet I know and appreciate the importance of this event. Today our president will make a speech on the same spot where Dr. King spoke. There have been so many discussions this morning on the news and talk radio about the state of the Civil Rights movement today and whether or not we as a nation have lived up to the expectations and hopes of the movement. I am hearing a lot of glass half full attitudes and an expression of disappointment with the condition of African Americans, in particular the young men, in our country. I, for one, don't see it that way, the glass for me is decidedly half full. I am not in any way negating the dire condition of so many of our young men and women, but there has been so much progress and ground gained in such a very short time. We have to acknowledge all of the progress made too.We all have the ability to live, work, worship, and love the way we choose in this country if we only have the courage and conviction to do so. There are still hurdles to leap, but we are no longer at the starting block. My grandfather on my dad's side was a man that I truly loved and admired and I remember having a conversation with him once when I was in high school that I don't think that I really took to heart at the time, but as I matured, and especially now as an adult, I am so thankful for having with him. We were talking about what my plans for myself were when I finished high school, and which college I was going to choose. I was one of the fortunate ones where there was never any question whether or not I would go to college, it was a given. Both he and my grandmother were educators; Grandma was a teacher and Granddaddy was a principal of a high school. I''m sure that I said something trite about not knowing why my family was putting so much pressure on me to "make myself an asset not a burden" when he told me something that I apparently actually absorbed. He said that the blood had been shed, the price paid, and the martyrs laid in their graves and that my generation of black folks is the first generation in America who have no excuse if they are not successful and satisfied in their own happiness. Well, no pressure Granddaddy! However, as usual, he was annoyingly right. If the previous generation could brave dogs, water hoses, and the Klan my generation could surely withstand ugly looks and the cold shoulder. I am blessed to say that despite growing up in Arkansas I have not really experienced anything soul shattering when it comes to race. I also have the additional blessing of being the wife of a military officer and we have raised our children in the military community where racism and discrimination is not the norm. Due to our lifestyle I have gathered a chosen family that is racially diverse. The friends that I have made have been there for me through my husbands deployments, TDY's, a crisis with a sibling, the death of both of my grandfathers, and the death of my father. I couldn't be closer to this chosen family of mine if we were related by blood and race. They offer me what any good family should-love, support, understanding, and gently reign me back in when I go off of on a tangent of some sort. Until the Lord Jesus himself returns there will always be people full of hate and the need to subjugate and oppress others in order to make themselves feel important. There's no way to get around that so you have to accept that as fact and let it go. So today, as I watch President Obama give his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial I will think of my grandfather and how proud he would undoubtedly be if he could see it and I will remember the sacrifices and triumphs of those Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian heroes of the Civil Rights movement I choose to see the glass half full. 

If you are interested in reading an account of what it took to get to this monumental moment you may want to check this book out.

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