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There are countless books that provide people with ideas of things they should do before they die. I’d like to add an item to those lists.

Before you die, you should go to a U2 concert, just to hear them play “Pride (In the Name of Love).” The song is primarily about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and seeing it peformed live is the closest I think I will ever come to being at an event like Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“Pride (In the Name of Love)” is arguably U2’s most popular song. They play it at every show and it give me chills every time I hear it, even when it is just on the radio. Bono, the lead singer of U2, has said he wishes he had been able to write another draft or two of the song, but I think it is perfect as it is. Even if it is just a sketch of ideas, it immediately links the audience to the thought of people who have died while trying to spread messages of love. When you are in a sold out stadium that is singing and dancing along to this song and the message that you can’t kill those ideas, you can feel that love, a love that can never die. It is an awesome experience and one that gives you hope that Dr. King’s message and dream will be achieved.

When the King holiday rolls around each year, the song is typically the first thing I think about, but this year it seems like there is even more to think about with the holiday.

The country will inaugurate our first African-American president one day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Whether or not you voted for Barack Obama, you have to admit that his election into the highest office of the land is historically significant. Although I grew up in a time where there was no mandatory segregation and the civil rights movement was something that was taught as history and not a current event, it wasn’t hard to see that there was still a long way to go. There still is a long way to go, but I am more optimistic these days that things are getting better and that we are drawing closer together.

One of the reasons I am so optimistic is because of what I see from the children. My son is almost four years old and I don’t think he looks at people with any idea of color. My wife and I never ask him what color his friends are and I’m not sure that it comes up in his class at day care either. I know that it will one day, but so far he hasn’t brought it up. I think that’s amazing and something that I hope he carries with him forever. Dr. King stated in his famous speech that he had a dream that one day “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” That has happened. It is happening every day, so much so that it seems almost silly to draw attention to it, until you remember that it wasn’t always this way.

When I was in school, I often thought of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as just a day off from school. This year, I will think about the sacrifices that he and many others made. His message that day in front of the Lincoln Memorial was one that everybody needed to hear and it is one that we still need to hear today, if only to see how far we have come already and how much further we have to go. I also hope that we refect this holiday on how many people have died trying to spread messages of love and peace and we pray that we never have to lose another in the name of love.

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Submitted by PTC Avenger on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 10:50pm.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. How much further do we have to go? Segregation is a thing of the past. It is illegal to discriminate against black people when hiring and, oftentimes, they are given preference over non-blacks. Blacks are free to live, work, and associate where and with whom they choose. Miscegenation is no longer illegal and, oftentimes, is paraded by the media (for those who don't know, this means interracial relationships). Black musicians/singers are well represented in today's popular entertainment culture. Black actors have no problem getting roles in Hollywood productions. White kids in the suburbs pretend they're black. It's cool to be black these days. Black is beautiful, remember? In the past 40 years the U.S. taxpayer has ponied up trillions of dollars in social entitlement programs. Blacks in America enjoy the highest standard of living in the world. And, to top it all off, this racist nation that supposedly has so much further to go just elected a black man to be Commander-in-Chief.

Yeah, we really have a lonnnnggg way to go. (Me rolling my eyes)

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