“I have a dream . . .” For the majority of us those are the words most often associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We remember them not only because of Dr. King’s often quoted famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August of 1963, but it was in the context of that passionate address that he defined his life’s mission and purpose, summarizing all his courageous acts, brilliant writings and inspiring speeches. Arguably, and as some scholars have claimed, it may have been the greatest speech of the twentieth century. But one thing is for sure, by the time he stepped down from the podium that day not only did the world understand Dr. King’s dream, more importantly he inspired others – and millions of others continue to be inspired – to share in it.
Like Moses, though, who never made it to the promise land Dr. King’s own life was tragically cut short before he could experience the fulfillment of his dream. But even if he were still living today would it be so? The honest answer must be that we are still far from the peaceful, civil, racially equal society of his dream. Progress has been made, though, and hopefully Dr. King would be pleased with that. His was a big dream after all, and big dreams take years, sometimes even generations to fulfill.
Ebby Halliday, founder and leader of one of the largest and most prominent real estate firms in Dallas, Texas and one of the great legendary business icons of our community will soon be celebrating her hundredth birthday according to yesterday’s Dallas Morning News. Ebby, who has been a powerful influence in the growth and development of this city, expressed in a recent interview about her dream for the restoration of the downtown business district. At her age it is unlikely she we live to see that fulfilled, but that does not lessen her passion for that dream and her inspiration of others to share in it.
I have dreams too, and so do you. While our dreams may seem small in comparison to Ebby Halliday’s and Dr. King’s in terms of their influence on society and the world, they are no less important for us to pursue with the same passion. But like them hopefully we dream big enough dreams that will continue to be pursued beyond our lifetimes, for our greatest legacy will be less about our accomplishments than of how we inspire the next generation? That’s what Dr. King did – and why we honor him on this day.