I went to Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School in the '70s- before there was a National Holiday dedicated to his life of service. It was a yearly event though, on his birthday, the entire school gathered in the gymnasium for an assembly in his honor. The two things I remember most is that each year we sang, We Shall Overcome, and different students and teachers shared in a reading of I Had a Dream. Now each year, on this holiday, I make sure that I reread this speech- remembering what the dream is and what someone's life can mean to entire people- even world.
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)
I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace."
A few years ago I went to my favorite yoga teacher, at 615pm, on the National Holiday. During the final pose, she usually leaves us listening to a prayer- but on this day (as it turns out each year) she played this excerpt of his speech in class- leaving us all to weep. The audio is powerful. It was one of the most beautiful experiences. I have added it to my reading ritual on this day- whether or not I go to yoga class.