Friday, April 04, 2008

40 Years Ago

Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. Most of you were not alive, or if alive, so young that you don't remember this. I was 16 years old. I had just dropped out of high school on April 1. My life was utter and complete chaos. And the United States was utter and complete chaos.

Last night I watched a CNN show about MLK's death. There was a shock of recognition and memory when they showed the cities burning after his death. I flew to Ohio from Chicago in that time. From the air you could see the smoke that signaled a city on fire, and there were many of them. It was horrifying. And then only a few weeks later Robert Kennedy was killed. I thought the world was ending. The fact that I was drinking every day and using whatever drug crossed my path probably had something to do with that.

At work yesterday I attended a pandemic tabletop exercise. It was sobering. The possibility of a pandemic flu is apparently not a question of "if," but of "when." The facilitator of the exercise talked about the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 - and I remembered it - because I had it. I remember how very sick I was. It was weird to realize then that I am older than most everybody with whom I work.

OK! Enough of that morbidity!

I am considering registering for a half-marathon on Sunday. A friend asked me if I want to do it. I just might.

My daughter finally made it to a safe place last night. I pray she can stay there.

Have a nice sober Friday everyone.


dAAve said...

I'll stay sober even though I remember those events well too.
Get rest.

Scott W said...

The world is much more fragile than we think. That we have staved off a pandemic for so long gives us some false reassurance. We saw here in Texas just how fragile our world is a few years back when Hurricane Rita was to hit. The banks closed illegally for over 3 days, drug stores closed leaving patients without prescriptions, grocery stores just left the pallets sitting on the floor without bothering to put food on the shelves. Without electricity banks wouldn't work anyway and there would be no way to pump gas. People here died on the freeways trying to get out of town only to be locked in complete gridlock. The city was deserted. I drove across town at 4:30 AM with not a car in sight, so I just ran red lights. It was one of the creepiest things I ever experienced.

Gwen R said...

Yikes! I could feel fear creeping up as I was reading this post.

Just wanted to stop in and say hellllloooooooo :)

Luv and friendship,

Kathy Lynne said...

MLK is a huge hero of mine, right up there with Mother Teresa. I remember those times well though I was a bit younger than you, it was my first awareness that the world was a scary place. Crushed especially by RFK's assasination. I heard replayed on the radio the speech he made on the night of MLK's death on the back of a flatbed truck. It was a small speech inspired by his own experience and I very much believe by God. Just like I sometimes yearn for my own personal what could have been, I also yearn for our country's. So I pray for peace and the ideals those 2 men stood for.

Thankful to hear about your daughter.

Zane-nawwaa said...

JFK. MLK. RFK. That five year period changed this country. I can still feel the sting of the tears I shed in those days. From 1975 - 1983 I worked in the IBM bldg next door to the Ambassador Hotel and was reminded of RFK daily. I pray we never have a period like that again. SO HAPPY for your daughter. I will still keep her in my prayers. Have a good weekend.

Bouncing off the Bottom said...

Thanks for posting on MLK. All love and best and continuing safety to you and your daughter

sober Chick said...

I am glad you don't have to poison your body today no matter what happens.

I just saw "I am legend" which set me off in wondering how so advance we want to get that we may be the catalyst to our own total destruction. The movie is pretty morbid.

Happy Friday to you.

Bill said...

I heard the same speech by RFK on NPR that Kathy Lynne heard.
The ironic legacy of these slayings is that they ensured that the cries for civil rights would not be silenced by apathy. We still have so far to go.