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Sun., Aug. 25, 2013

Optimism stemming from that day remains, but dream painfully elusive

How well I remember the euphoria of that moment on Aug. 28, 1963. Everything seemed possible then as Americans of every hue linked arms at the historic March on Washington and took a stand for freedom, justice and love. I viewed that gathering with a child’s eyes and heart, believing that this country was forever changed. But this child quickly grew up when just two weeks later four little girls at Sunday school were blown up in a church in Birmingham, Ala.

At 60 years of age today, I have surrendered my youth, but not my optimism, yet I fear that freedom and justice for all likely will not come in my lifetime. But then, no one could have told me that I would live to see an African-American president in the White House, either.

I know for certain that far too many have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for a freedom that still is elusive for so many. Today, I grieve for Trayvon Martin’s family and fear for my grandchildren in an America where a black teenager walking home from the store arouses suspicion that leads to a confrontation, and death.

Until the prejudice, fear and hatred of people who are different ends, none of us is free. We are a better nation than that. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the legions of others who filled the National Mall in 1963 by holding fast to his dream and finally making it come true.

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