Sunday, January 18, 2009

Apologia Pro Domingo

When Martin Luther King gave his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, I wasn't there. I didn't even hear it on the radio.

A few days later, a guy I knew told me he thought it was the best speech he had ever heard. I still didn't get it. I wondered how many speeches this guy had heard.

I came of age in the sixties, but I wasn't of the sixties. I remember seeing some graduate students sitting on the steps of the bookstore across from old Stanford Union. They were playing a radio, real loud so everybody could hear it. Something about Vietnam. It was 1961. I didn't know what Vietnam was.

When the Cuban Missile Crisis hit, my professor, who was a refugee from World War II, fled to the Oregon woods to hide until Armageddon was over. I didn't go with him.

When King died in 1968, I heard his "Mountaintop" speech on TV and was struck dumb. After that, I sought out all the recordings of his speeches and sermons and found them wonderful.

I was a little slow, but I got there.

It's Sunday, a time for reflecting on one's shortcomings.

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