On an August day, at the
Lincoln Memorial, in 1963, Reverend-Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. passionately
expressed his hopes for a more equal and more united America. Within his historic and revered "I Have A
Dream" speech, was his desire that character might one day become the pre-eminent
judge of our merit. He told the nation
that day of his fervent-wish that his children might "one day live in a nation
where they (would) be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the
content of their character." That vision,
those deeply-felt and prophetic words, justifiably remain within America's
collective mind to this day.
And while such past personal or vocational racial and other barriers have now evolved, as it should be, to the point of invisibility, except perhaps among those who dwell on perpetuating discord, that critical character-factor in Dr. King's wish has, sadly, been allowed to erode over time, in both public and private sectors, diminishing that steadfast-beacon of honesty, decency, and responsibility Dr. King envisioned. In too many instances, we've allowed ourselves to trade fact and initiative, for dependency, fraud, fabrication, and outright lying. Bad enough it's happened. Worse, we're becoming immune to it. Working to prevent such, among today's youth, tomorrow's leaders, and reflecting that value-based upbringing and service of our greatest generation, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force conducts its proven-effective "Character Counts" program, beginning with all Savannah-Chatham public elementary schools. Other community organizations also perform welcome youth mentoring work, all combining to instill behavioral-standards within our young people. What a great, just, and lasting tribute it would be to reinstate our traditional individual and national character, in actions, not mere words, back to the level of Dr. King's dream.