This photograph*, taken moments after Martin Luther King's assassination, always takes my breath away, and not just because of the tragic event it depicts. Every time I look at it I am amazed anew at the four men standing upright and pointing. I would argue that anyone's natural instinct after hearing a gunshot is to duck. And yet here they are, four men who valued identifying MLK's killer more than they did their own lives.
In about 30 minutes it will officially have been 40 years since we lost this great man. Have you ever heard his "I've been to the mountaintop" speech? He delivered it the night before he was killed. I swear, he saw it coming:
Well, I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead. (Amen) But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. (Yeah) [applause] And I don't mind. [applause continues] Like anybody, I would like to live a long life-longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. (Yeah) And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. (Go ahead) And I've looked over (Yes sir), and I've seen the Promised Land. (Go ahead) I may not get there with you. (Go ahead) But I want you to know tonight, (Yes) that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. [applause] (Go ahead. Go ahead) And so I'm happy tonight; I'm not worried about anything; I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. [applause]
If you live anywhere nearby, or next time you visit Atlanta, schedule a stop at the King Center into your trip. I'm ashamed how long I lived here without going, but it's an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
*I nabbed it from this conspiracy sight, but I can't find the original newspaper attribution.