January 19, 2015
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On April 4, 1968, the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, I was a 4th grader living in Vienna, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. My dad was participating in a management-training program for the FAA.
My class was supposed to go into D.C. the next day for a field trip. That morning, my mother had me wear some nice clothes and she gave me a little bit of money so I could buy a souvenir.
All of the kids were excited about the trip. But the teacher quieted us and told us we weren’t going on the trip because, she said, “The city is shut down.” I don’t remember any more explanation.
My dad took me into D.C. a few days later. It was just him and me in the car. We drove around and saw so many who had gathered. And we saw some of the aftermath of reaction to Dr. King’s killing.
The drive and talk with my dad made an impression about how important a loss we’d all suffered.
We appropriately celebrate the birth of Reverend King today. We embrace his work, inspiration, hopefulness and love. But I also remain struck by the loss as well.