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He died young and long ago. His national holiday risks becoming just the first “Monday off” of each new year. I hope not.

But it always impresses me how fresh and current Martin Luther King Jr. is today. You don’t have to wonder “what would he say” about this or that?

He said it.

A few of the lessons his life teaches: you can accomplish a lot when you are young. He was only 39 at the time of his violent death.

Freedom is just a word until you have completely lost yours. He may have reached the zenith of his eloquence and power with the 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.

Choosing political parties is only necessary for candidates for elective office. He had far more power and persuasion as both political parties courted him.

He was patient with people, but impatient about things. He recognized the value of any and every ally, and he knew how to lead and preserve a diverse coalition. He seldom expressed concern for his own health and well-being, although we now know he had concerns.

I think, when he used talk about having “been to the mountaintop” and how confident he was in “getting to the promised land”, he really believed it, with conviction both religious and patriotic. He saw and believed in an outcome he would not be around for.

How many public figures and leaders of today could say the same?

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