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Archive for January, 2010

Aside

Rotary Martin Luther King Speech

I had the privilege of giving the Martin Luther King presentation at Rotary today.  I was all inspired and thought I would share with everyone.

Martin Luther King & the Rotary 4-Way Test

Click here to access the printout that I handed out. The printout contains a couple of different things.  First, is my favorite line from one of Dr. King’s speeches.  Secondly, the full text of his most famous speech, “I have a Dream”.  I would encourage everyone to re-read this speech today on this, Martin Luther King’s National Day of Service.

Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. King said, “The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.”

“Service to others.”  Those words should echo louder for Rotarians than anyone else.  Our motto, “Service above Self” places in front of us the belief that we are here to serve the greater good.  We are here to put helping others ahead of our own self gain.  Today, January 18, 2010 we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King’s National Day of Service.  Making this, “NOT A DAY OFF, BUT A DAY ON.”

Every Monday we recite the 4-way test:
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Reading that again, I believe that test could have been written by Dr. King himself.

Is it The Truth? – “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

The phrase was quoted by Dr. King in his famous I Have a Dream speech, as the “creed” of the United States.

Is it FAIR to all concerned? – He spent a lifetime trying to get to the root of fairness on equal rights.  That All men are created equal.  Not just white men.  Fairness and equality is what Dr. King ultimately gave his life for.

Will it build GOODWILL & BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? – (from his Noble Peace Prize Acceptance speech) – “I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall overcome!”  From “I have A Dream – I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?  Was there any doubt that what Dr. King preached would be beneficial to all mankind?  Harmony, peace, love, & equality.

In his final speech before his death, this is what Dr. King had to say about what is beneficial to all concerned through his words of peace: ”And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”  He saw what was beneficial to all.  That speech was delivered on April 3rd.

As we spend today celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, let us remember that the same ideals that unite us in Rotary fellowship, were principles that Dr. King spent a life time fighting for.  Ultimately giving his life for on April 4, 1968.

1.    Is it the TRUTH?
2.    Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.    Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Remember, make today a day on, not a day off.  Thank you.

Past-President,
Keith Souza

Aside

Funny You Should Ask

While cleaning out some old papers this morning, I found a copy of this article by Rick Reilly. Since everyone is busy today putting their new year’s resolutions into place, I thought this article would put it all in perspective.

Here’s a link to it from SI.

Funny You Should Ask

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Tuesday April 13, 1999 10:13 AM

So we were lying on our backs on the grass in the park next to our hamburger wrappers, my 14-year-old son and I, watching the clouds loiter overhead, when he asked me, “Dad, why are we here?”

And this is what I said.

“I’ve thought a lot about it, son, and I don’t think it’s all that complicated. I think maybe we’re here just to teach a kid how to bunt, turn two and eat sunflower seeds without using his hands.

“We’re here to pound the steering wheel and scream as we listen to the game on the radio, 20 minutes after we pulled into the garage. We’re here to look all over, give up and then find the ball in the hole.

“We’re here to watch, at least once, as the pocket collapses around John Elway, and it’s fourth-and-never. Or as the count goes to 3 and 1 on Mark McGwire with bases loaded, and the pitcher begins wishing he’d gone on to med school. Or as a little hole you couldn’t get a skateboard through suddenly opens in front of Jeff Gordon with a lap to go.

“We’re here to wear our favorite sweat-soaked Boston Red Sox cap, torn Slippery Rock sweatshirt and the Converses we lettered in, on a Saturday morning with nowhere we have to go and no one special we have to be.

“We’re here to rake on a jack-high nothin’ hand and have nobody know it but us. Or get in at least one really good brawl, get a nice shiner and end up throwing an arm around the guy who gave it to us.

“We’re here to shoot a six-point elk and finally get the f-stop right, or to tie the perfect fly, make the perfect cast, catch absolutely nothing and still call it a perfect morning.

“We’re here to nail a yield sign with an apple core from half a block away. We’re here to make our dog bite on the same lame fake throw for the gazillionth time. We’re here to win the stuffed bear or go broke trying.

“I don’t think the meaning of life is gnashing our bicuspids over what comes after death but tasting all the tiny moments that come before it. We’re here to be the coach when Wendell, the one whose glasses always fog up, finally makes the only perfect backdoor pass all season. We’re here to be there when our kid has three goals and an assist. And especially when he doesn’t.

“We’re here to see the Great One setting up behind the net, tying some poor goaltender’s neck into a Windsor knot. We’re here to watch the Rocket peer in for the sign, two out, bases loaded, bottom of the career. We’re here to witness Tiger’s lining up the 22-foot double breaker to win and not need his autograph afterward to prove it.

“We’re here to be able to do a one-and-a-half for our grandkids. Or to stand at the top of our favorite double-black on a double-blue morning and overhear those five wonderful words: ‘Highway’s closed. Too much snow.’ We’re here to get the Frisbee to do things that would have caused medieval clergymen to burn us at the stake.

“We’re here to sprint the last 100 yards and soak our shirts and be so tired we have to sit down to pee.

“I don’t think we’re here to make SportsCenter. The really good stuff never does. Like leaving Wrigley at 4:15 on a perfect summer afternoon and walking straight into Murphy’s with half of section 503. Or finding ourselves with a free afternoon, a little red 327 fuel-injected 1962 Corvette convertible and an unopened map of Vermont’s backroads.

“We’re here to get the triple-Dagwood sandwich made, the perfectly frosted malted-beverage mug filled and the football kicked off at the very second your sister begins tying up the phone until Tuesday.

“None of us are going to find ourselves on our deathbeds saying, ‘Dang, I wish I’d spent more time on the Hibbings account.’ We’re going to say, ‘That scar? I got that scar stealing a home run from Consolidated Plumbers!’

“See, grown-ups spend so much time doggedly slaving toward the better car, the perfect house, the big day that will finally make them happy when happy just walked by wearing a bicycle helmet two sizes too big for him. We’re not here to find a way to heaven. The way is heaven. Does that answer your question, son?”

And he said, “Not really, Dad.”

And I said, “No?”

And he said, “No, what I meant is, why are we here when Mom said to pick her up 40 minutes ago?

Issue date: April 12, 1999