Last October, I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. and Maryland with several other journalism and broadcasting majors from Weber State University. We had one day to see the sites before we were due at a journalism conference.

We went through the White House, saw the archives and visited several museums. Washington D.C. is an American history book come to life. You have to take a moment and tell yourself, “This is the actual Bill of Rights. Whoa.”

Being the history-enthusiasts that we are, we ran around D.C. for the entire day like maniacs, trying to see as much as we could. The last place we went, and the most memorable, was the new Martin Luther King Jr. monument.

The monument was completed in August of 2011. It is neighbored by the Potomac River. In the center is a large statue of MLK Jr. carved out of stone with quotes by him around the base. Behind the statue sits a long wall with even more quotes by him over the years. The designers decided to opt out of using any quotes from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Personally, I found the monument very moving. The quotes at the monument are timeless and still very valid today. I thought I would share a few of them and how they can be applied to our society today. While MLK Jr. made huge strides for the world, I feel that we should continue his legacy of tolerance, acceptance and progress.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Everyone has the opportunity to make change and challenge the way things are if they don’t feel that they are just and right. Morality is a broad term, and everyone has a little different way of viewing it, but there are times when something needs to be changed in the name of societal progress.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

If more people have the audacity and motivation to see this become a reality, perhaps someday, it really could be. Getting closer to it in our lifetime wouldn’t be bad either. Whether you help in a big or small way to reach this goal, you are doing more good than you know.

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

At times, this notion seems almost impossible in even our own nation. It seems that so many of our options feel like they fall on one side of a bipartisan line. Finding a middle ground where people can reach an agreement on one issue seems out of reach. Perhaps the goal should be toward a common education, more tolerance and finding the flaws of that side that we sometimes defend vehemently.

Who knows if in our lifetime we will have another human as impactful as Martin Luther King Jr. was. Hopefully, some of us will try to follow his example to get closer to a more tolerant world.

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