This time around every February is Black History Month.

There is a nice Buffalo Soldier Exhibit at Wells Fargo Museum down town San Francisco. Other Black History Month celebrations all over the Bay Area. On February 18, 2004 at 11 a.m. there will be a nice Black History Month celebration at the OfficersÕ Club at the Presidio of San Francisco.

When Black History Month comes around we think of all the great African American heroes, as they are known today. First they were called Negroes, then Black and now African American.

Anyway, when one reads the names of the great women and men - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands out. His contribution to modern and contemporary American life is well noted and his influence tremendous.

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s permitted many people of color to participate and contribute to the American way of life. Gradually most Americans learned that we all are Americans first and then White, Black, or whatever.

Our schools opened the door to all Americans and soon people of color made progress in every field. At one time we had no Black judges and soon they were some. In our hospitals many doctors of color made a big difference. The Department of Defense led the way and offered opportunity to many Blacks - now we have so many Generals and other top leaders in the Navy, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and other important fields that contribute to the progress of this Nation.

In the sporting field one sees a huge change. This is a far cry from the days of the Negro League, which are becoming very sentimental today. Today Blacks dominated American Football, basketball, and many other sports.

We have so many Black singers in the music field and musicians too.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed his life so that many people could make progress. He got his inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi as did Nelson Mendala and a host of contemporary activists who follow in the steps of these great leaders.

The war in Iraq, before that the war in Afghanistan and before that September 11 forced us to change of way of life as we know it in America. Our country is at war and there is much fear around us. We are constantly losing our freedom to move and are constantly groped and searched - ordinary honest hard working people.

If you are a person of color you are first suspect then an American.

Perhaps for the first time when it comes to boarding a plane or entering some top security area - everyone is treated equally and gently abused equally. It makes people think about freedom of movement, freedom to enter places, freedom to travel abroad. People are thinking and many putting themselves in the shoes of those people of color who had to follow standard rules of segregation and other demeaning regulations.

If one listens carefully to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. one cannot but hear again and again the word love. There will come a time when children of all races will be one and work together. That time cannot come without love. That time cannot come if we make war on nations without provocation. We cannot love by bossing people and becoming the police of the world.

Today the world hates our policy makers what will it take to turn them around?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. respected the First People and understood clearly the sacrifice they made. He understood what Mahatma Gandhi went through. He understood the death of Christ on the Cross. He saw the vision that only those see that suffer and understand through wisdom what cannot be explained in words but more in actions.

President Kennedy saw the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so did President Johnson. The Equal Opportunity Commission saw it and so did the Churches from all denominations. The world population understood what this man stood for because it was universal.

Today, unfortunately we are worse off because warmongers such as those who live in the White House offer war as a means instead of peace. They do that because they are far away from the ideals of spirituality and embrace greed and hostility. There can be no love without sacrifice and the present White House has none of it.

Today we should go back to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We ought to help our children and our seniors. Work for sound education and health programs. Create jobs and build homes. Learn to speak less and act more to help those that need help most.

We should not LIE as we did with our stance in Iraq. The Bay Area did right when with one voice we said NO. We took a stand, as did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a long time ago.

It is very easy to fight. It is very easy to bomb. It is very easy to kill. It is not so easy to feel the pain. It is not so easy to forgive. It is not very easy to build. We cannot love without sacrifice.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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