Today marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech. It is noted as one of the largest political rallies in United States history for human rights. Just over a year later Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient of the award at the time.
The man standing in the photo above, Thich Nhat Hanh, was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for that very same honor in 1967… but there was no recipient of the award that year. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. said during his nomination of Thich Nhat Hanh, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a world renowned Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, author, teacher, poet and peace activist. He has published over 100 books… and…
Well… you can look him up on Wikipedia or Google him for yourself… I won’t bother recounting facts and figures from the internet.
What I will tell you that you might not know and probably won’t find with any internet searches… is that this picture of a 36 year old Thich Nhat Hanh was taken here… right here at YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, New Jersey, in 1962
His published journal, Fragrant Palm Leaves (1962 – 1966) recounts time spent here in the United States and studying and teaching at Princeton & Columbia… and the first line of the first entry in the journal from July 18th 1962 reads… “I am in a cabin called ‘Pomona’…”
We know that place, right?
Thich Nhat Hahn held company with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…. and 51 years ago he walked the shores of our cedar lakes, played with our Campers… found peace amongst our pines… lived in the very lodge named Pomona where our Preschool Day Camp operated from for the first time this summer… and was attended by our 3 year old daughter, Charlotte.
I can’t help but to feel a very special and interesting “Six Degrees of Separation” today… and I can only hope that one day, thanks to a loving family, wonderful friends and role models in her life… and growing up in this environment we call “Camp”, guided by the Four Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility… that Charlotte will one day have her own dream, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did… and reach for greatness.