Friday, January 18, 2013

MLK Weekend and Chaplain Duty Watch

I have the island-wide duty chaplain shift this week.  Aside from being on-call 24 hours a day through the MLK Weekend (and therefore, no consumption of alcohol of any type), I am responsible for an article to be published in the Okinawa Marine.  I submit to you my article from this week's edition.

Re-Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In one of my favorite scenes from the 1988 classic "Coming to America", Eddie Murphy as Clarence the Barber describes a chance encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"You know, Sweets, I met Dr. Martin Luther King once.   Yeah, I met Dr. Martin Luther King in 1962 in Memphis, Tennessee. I walkin' down the street minding my own business, just walking on. Feelin' good. I walk around the corner, a man walk up, hit me in my chest, right. I fall on the ground, right. And I look up and it's Dr. Martin Luther King. I said 'Dr. King?' and he said 'Ooops, I thought you were somebody else.'"

What is your memory of Dr. King?  How do you remember?  Unfortunately, very few of us have actual memories of Martin Luther King, Jr.; the majority of us weren’t born when he was assassinated.  We have history textbooks, old videos, and past-down stories.  With these tools, we teach, but we hardly instill memory.  The fact is that for most of us the memory of Dr. King garners little recognition in our lives - except another USMC 96-hour weekend. 
As members of the military, we should remember Dr. King for his commitment to the causes of freedom and democracy.  We should be inspired by his courage to speak out, to push forward in the face of innumerable threats. We should remember the modern day prophet who dreamed of a better tomorrow, a life of dignity, a hopeful future for all Americans.  As service members, by our very creed, we are committed to preserving the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Turn this weekend into a weekend of service.  We remember through action.  We carry on the legacy of Dr. King by turning dream into reality, by answering the call to grant dignity to all people.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Dr. King in Selma, Alabama.  He said his experience in the march, "I was praying with my feet."  May we turn this weekend into a weekend of service: pray with your actions, pray with your hands, pray with your feet.

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