DayeTime: Marking 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

Regardless of personal opinions concerning Martin Luther King Jr., there is no disputing that he was one of this nation’s most influential leaders -- especially of the 20th Century.

No right-thinking, moral individual would disagree that, at 39, King died too soon.

King was murdered on April 4, 1968 -- 50 years ago today -- on the balcony of Room 306 in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

The night before, King addressed a rally at Mason Temple in Memphis in which he spoke about death threats and his determination to continue his campaign for social justice for all Americans.

He compared the fight to that of the Israelites in Egypt, who escaped slavery after Moses persisted in petitioning Pharaoh for their release.

Those familiar with the Old Testament account of the Exodus know that Moses led the Israelites in the Wilderness for 40 years before God decided it was time for His people to enter the Promised Land.

However, Moses was told that he could not enter that land. As a reward for his faithful service, God allowed Moses to climb to a mountaintop and look over into the land promised to the Israelites.

In a prophetic and still emotional passage from his last speech, King said:

“We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

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.

And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land.

I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

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!”

This week, marking the 50th anniversary of one of the nation’s most notable political assassinations, we remember those words.

There are those who say that passage to the Promised Land has been made. Others contend the “Israelites” are still wandering in the Wilderness.

We do not take a position on that question, but we do pause to remember a man who was murdered for his beliefs and whose words still stir hearts today as much as they did when first uttered.

There are few men of any era who can still lead long after they have left this world for their eternal home, but Martin Luther King Jr. is one such American.

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