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Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

January 16, 2007

Both this and the previous slide were forwarded to me by Painting colorblind. This next piece was written by next year’s OTM fellow Aaron.

I hope everyone has enjoyed their day off today.

Today, the third Monday of January, we have the day off to recognize the life and accomplishments of a man who, with many faults of his own, fought to reconcile the differences among his fellow man. Most remarkably, he fought this war peacefully.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not have ambitions to be a great leader as a young man, however his humanity could not be silenced, as its bold discourse led Dr. King to strive for what he felt were nonnegotiable realities: freedom, equality, and happiness. Dr. King is recognized for taking up the fight of civil rights not just to raise up the African American from the remnants of slavery and inequality, but to assure harmony and equality of all men and women, of every race, every nation, and every religion.

Dr. King was a warrior for peace and a champion of change. He sacrificed much, and gave nearly everything he had during his life, but he was a reluctant hero and leader. As future physicians, we have much to learn from the example he has set for before us. As mentioned before, Dr. King was not without fault and the record of this in the history is clear. However, recognizing his weaknesses, he continually strove to better himself, to be a better religious leader, a better husband, a better father, a better man; always in the face of his failures.

It was through his position in the community that Dr. King was able to exact the degree of change that he did. The fight for civil rights was that exactly, a fight, a war. Because of his leadership though, the goals of the civil rights movement were, ultimately, achieved peacefully.

Today we live in a world of unprecedented tolerance, freedom, and opportunity. Are things perfect today? I think we can all recognize that they are not. However, this recognition is the first step. The second step is to pursue change through leadership, if through direct action towards change, or in the form of leading by example. As future physicians and current students of medicine, we will and do hold a special degree of respect from society. It is our responsibility to use our position, appropriately, boldly, and courageously for a better world for ourselves, and those who come after us.

With the good fortune of the entire day off, please take a few moments of reflection to recognize what we have, the sacrifices made before us, and the work yet to come.

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