In the Jewish religion, one is responsible for remembering the dead. This is accomplished by saying a prayer, Kadish, and lighting a candle, known as a Yarzeit candle. We say that Yarzeit is tonight for Martin Luther King, for example, as we remember the anniversary of his funeral. I do it with music here.
I remember 1968 starting off as a year with promise. I had graduated from college, and I had started working in New York City. It turned out to be quite different than anyone could have expected. We lost an enormous number of really good people that year, including Dr. King and Robert Kennedy. One of my ex-roommates from college died in Viet Nam when his outpost was destroyed in a rear area. He was a non-combatant, a typist. He didn't have a rifle. The Tet Offensive was very egalitarian. No event diminishes any of the other events, and today is Dr. King's Day.
I picked the first song, which is a group of children from the age of nine to fifteen who entertain in El Paso, Texas at college basketball games, because we should always remember that King was an American hero who was killed standing up for the rights of other Americans. We are all better off because he lived. We should all use his memory to make this a better place, and that probably should start with self-inspection, and correction. Leading by example is a good deal about non-violent protest. Another example is Gandhi.
So let us remember Dr. King for his achievements, in life and in death. And be thankful for his existence.
The Cactus Cuties - The National Anthem
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky
Leonard Cohen - Halleluhah
Amazing Grace - Judy Collins and the choir
"Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright (Irish performance)
John Cale - Hallelujah