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Dr. King

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As I get older and the decades pass, I may find it difficult to remember where I put the car keys or maybe where I parked the car.  I often forget, by afternoon, what I had for breakfast or if I even ate breakfast.  Memory can be a fragile thing.  But what I do seem to remember are the decisive moments of my youth. Some are frozen in time.  I remember, vividly, where I was and what I was doing on the evening of April 4, 1968.  Hammering away at some grade ten geometry homework in my upstairs bedroom, I could hear the television in the family room downstairs.  I can still hear Walter Cronkite's voice as CBS News interrupted whatever program it was airing.  Mr. Cronkite announced Dr. Martin Luther King had been shot and killed in Memphis.  I had walked to the top of the stairs when that news bulletin began.  There had been so many news bulletins issued by the three television networks during those unpredictable years..  They all brought shocking and, often, tragic news.  The news bulletin that sad evening was one of the worst.

In the context of discussing great world's fairs, perhaps this does not quite fit.  But in the 1960s, the final decade filled with great North American expositions, there is a stunning social paradox between the great fairs in Seattle, New York, Montreal and San Antonio and the civil unrest, urban violence and assassinations that none of those expositions could possibly address.   Fifty years is such a very long time.  But I have remembered the evening of April 4, 1968 with a remarkable clarity because even at age sixteen, I was fully aware the loss of Dr. King would create a national wound that might never heal.

I hope it is acceptable to post these thoughts.

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