S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of peace

"I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war." --Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution.
Via a Yahoo search, this quotation was found at the site of Dr. King's "Papers Project": The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute which is located at Stanford University in California. Info about the King Center in Atlanta is linked to this post's title above.
Today, you might have the day off. This official federal holiday was first observed in 1986. And it has taken a while for the word to get around. According to Wikipedia,
At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. On January 18, 1999, for the first time, Martin Luther King Day was officially observed in all fifty U.S. states. The day is marked by demonstrations for peace, social justice and racial and class equality, as well as a national day of volunteer community service.
On January 16, 2006, Greenville County, South Carolina, will be the last county in the U.S. to officially adopt Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday. Although the day is a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is usually not observed by small private companies except for banks.
This year's theme is: Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!! Here is something you can do. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is raising money to build a King memorial in Washington. The Project was officially launched when President Clinton signed authorizing legislation on November 12, 1996. A couple of years later, John Carter testified before the memorial oversight committee that,
“We now have an opportunity to break the trend of memorials to war and erect a monument which delivers a message of lifelong peace in our land. A memorial which embodies not just the image of Dr. King, but the image of America, which is often called the melting pot of the world.”
A preliminary design by Roma in San Francisco has been approved. Federal matching requirement means that the fund now needs $4,000,000 more.

This post started with a quote from Dr. King about the importance of peace. He was opposed to the war in Vietnam. Today we are still at war, though not the same war, of course. And there is an ironic twist to all this. There was some unfinished business, from the the military's point of view. A man still needs to be punished for standing for peace instead of war. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

A desserter from the Vietnam has been apprehended and is now in federal prison. In November 1969, McQueen left Camp Lejeune, N.C. He never went back. "I just decided I didn't want to be a part of killing anybody," McQueen said. "That's about as plain as I can say it."
But now, after more than 36 years on the lam, McQueen is behind bars on a federal warrant for military desertion. On Thursday, Fort Worth fugitive officers arrested McQueen after receiving information from the Marines that he was living, with his girlfriend, in southwest Fort Worth. Military officials say McQueen's true name is Ernest Johnson Jr.


My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is a poem I wrote some years ago about war.

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