Monday, January 20, 2014

Let freedom ring!

The way history has worked out, I sometimes share a birthday with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We were actually born 26 years and 3 days apart. Today on his holiday, let's all try to honor and fulfill the dream of equality, opportunity, and freedom that he articulated so well. For those who "aim high," as in climbing mountains, here's a wild idea from a blog I wrote on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech: 

August 28, 2013

     The dream declared by Dr. Martin Luther King on August 28, 1963 resonates today in so many ways.
     One way I'll bet he never envisioned? As a hiking guide.
     Remember the crescendo of that speech? 
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and mole hill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
     In memory of Dr. King, wouldn't it be fun to climb the highest peaks on that list? 
     If you say yes, you might be a peakbagger. 
     To glimpse the possibilities, click on this list of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" peaks.

     Dr. King reached another rhetorical peak on April 3, 1968 in Memphis—a terribly prophetic speech the day before he was assassinated. He alluded to Mount Pisgah (also known as Nebo) and the farewell vision of Moses in Deuteronomy 34: 
     "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't really matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop.
     "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. 
     "So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!" 

UPDATE 2018: A few days before the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death, I "climbed" Lookout Mountain, so I am halfway through this list. At the same time, my friend Charlie Zerphey became the 29th person to complete the list. 

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