On this date in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assasinated in Memphis. I was a child at the time and, until that day, knew nothing about him. However, I think I understood, for the first time, what the word "tragedy" means and that it isn't the same as mere sadness or grief.
He was cut down one year to the day after making what might have been the most important speech of his life--and one of the most important in American history.
Before an audience of 3000 in New York's Riverside Memorial Church, the greatest leader this country has ever had declared, "My conscience leaves me no other choice." Then he described the terrible effects of the Vietnam War on this country's poor as well as Vietnamese peasants. Thus, he concluded, he could not continue to fight for civil rights and address the myriad injustices--all of which had to do with race, class and gender--that existed (and still exist) in the United States without opposing the war his country was waging in the former French Indochina.
Here is a video of that speech: