Just a few years ago, I sat in an auditorium at the Orlando World Marriott Center and witnessed one of the most profound speeches the world has ever heard. The orator was a gentleman named Stephon Ferguson. He is a Martin Luther King Jr. impersonator, and in this bright auditorium, Stephon stepped up to the podium as if he was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Instantly he captivated the room, and in that next six minutes, it was if we were transported to 1963. I was moved to tears.
The words of a great leader can inspire us to a renewed vision. When you think about it, MLK’s speech is the perfect example. Take a moment to reflect on what he eloquently shared. The words are eternal.
“Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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.”
In this infamous speech, he ended up mentioning not one dream but six dreams—all focused on his vision of freedom – your freedom and mine!
As King nears the end of his “I Have a Dream” speech, he introduces the ultimate vision of his dream—a vision that can only be pursued by faith.
“This [Dream] is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”
Don’t miss the subtle hint. There were over a quarter of a million people in front of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on that hot summer day in 1963, and I am certain he knew the rest of the world would be hearing the speech later that night. While outwardly MLK is talking about a dream of freedom, inwardly he is reminding everyone of the need to persevere together through faith. This message of perseverance translates to our world today.
His I Have a Dream speech were words for all of us. Even though it’s been almost six decades, it still causes us to reevaluate our aspirations for one another and the freedoms of this great nation. That one speech changed history. It became a pivot of perseverance in America’s ongoing pursuit of freedom, and it’s what inspired servicemen like my dad, to continue to protect the freedoms of our nation – for all men and women.
So, on this day of remembrance– remember the values of our nation: Hope. Freedom. Service. Justice. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness. These are the same tenets we hold dear at SimVentions. They matter to us. We are one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Let us never forget that.
P.S. - If you want to hear the same reenactment of MLK’s speech that I heard that day, it was video recorded. Here’s the link:
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