NPR logo Mourning King, and the Vision

Mourning King, and the Vision

For those of you who heard the first ''feed'' of our broadcast today you might have heard something in my voice at the end of it and wondered what was going on ... I'm not too proud (but slightly embarrassed) to admit I had trouble getting through my final copy.

We had just played an excerpt from Dr. King's final public address in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before he was killed ... and my only job was to remind people of what they'd just heard and say goodbye.

I have heard that speech so many times before, I've seen the grainy footage, I've heard him say "I may not get there with you... "

And yet ... I cried ...

Who knows what makes people cry? What was on my mind? I'm not sure ... I think I cried because although my faith tells me that a powerful hand steers each of our destinies, I still grieve. I grieve for his children, who lost their father when the youngest was too young to remember her father's touch or smell. I grieve for all of the children who lost a man who helped this nation be better. I grieve because being shot by a man you can't see while you watch the stars is a terrible way to die. I grieve because too many young people have shared that fate even this week ... shot down while watching the stars or going to school or washing their cars or watching a pickup basketball game ... it is all so senseless ...

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I mourn this loss today ...

We've asked you to share your memories about how you learned about his death; I'll share mine if you don't mind. I was at a Girl Scouts' meeting; I think we were making macaroni art or something and all the mothers came busting in ... they were early ... and we couldn't figure out why they were there because nobody told us ... but the next thing I remember was standing with my mother and a knot of other mothers and kids, the mothers talking in low, urgent voices, the kind parents use around their kids when they don't want the kids to be in the conversation. I remember being apprehensive but not really scared but I remember something like anger in the mothers' voices, and that was curious to me ... what were they angry about?

All I remember after that, and this had to have been sometime later but I don't remember exactly, is my father, a firefighter, calling to tell us he wouldn't be home for many days ... he didn't know when ... I remember him telling my mother to stock up on food if she could, to keep us inside, and to fill every available container with water. And then riots started ... and that's another story ...

We'll pick up that story on Monday ...

And now ... some announcements ... Cheryl Corley will be sitting in tomorrow ... I'll be attending in Atlanta where someone important to me is being honored ...

It's in keeping with the spirit of the day I think? I think tomorrow can be a day where we do more than mourn a death - but celebrate a life, a legacy, and a vision ...

Thanks to Cheryl for disrupting her life again so I can live mine ...

And we say goodbye ... for now ... to our web producer Lee Hill. He's leaving us to head off for some specialized training in digital media ... we'll miss him (but we plan to call him often and annoy him so feel free to leave ideas for obnoxious messages for us to pass on). In his absence Arwa Gunja and Douglas Hopper will take over the blog and website production ...

As Garrison Keillor says at the end of his daily Writer's Almanac ... Be well. Do good work. Stay in touch.

And I'll see you next week ...

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