Never. Give. Up.
Today we celebrate the Reverend Martin Luther King’s birthday. He never gave up, no matter the odds, the threats, the assaults, the murders. Although his voice was silenced by a coward’s bullet, his spirit lives on and in the end,
We Shall Overcome.
No matter what it takes. No matter how long it takes.
Yesterday, I witnessed what can happen when people refuse to quit.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times describes what spirit and heart can accomplish.
For this one, injured Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had to play the closing minutes with one arm.
For this one, punter Jon Ryan had to throw a touchdown pass to backup tackle Garry Gilliam, and Chris Matthews, a practice-squad player for most of the season, had to recover an onside kick.
For this one, to win the most trying game in a most trying season, the Seahawks defense had to counteract five turnovers, and Marshawn Lynch had to make CenturyLink Field tremble again, and Luke Willson had to catch Russell Wilson’s rainbow miracle of a two-point conversion.
And at the end, for the Seahawks to return to the Super Bowl, Wilson had to throw deep to Jermaine Kearse — a futile connection on this day — ignoring that all four of his interceptions occurred while targeting Kearse, including two picks that went through the wide receiver’s hands.
Kearse caught it. Later, Kearse wept. Wilson did, too. In an NFC Championship Game that felt like a replay of the Seahawks’ entire, strenuous season, Seattle had staged an amazing comeback that embodies the redemptive charm of this team.
The Seahawks outlasted Green Bay in a 28-22 overtime thriller, overcoming a game opponent as well as their own mistakes. It was an ideal Super Bowl encore for this team, an accomplishment that defines its toughness and determination.
The Seahawks were down 16-0 at halftime. The deficit was still 12 with less than three minutes remaining. And then the miracles started happening. Or rather, the Seahawks were rewarded for refusing to quit.
“No matter what you do to us, no matter how hard the pressure gets, no matter what you throw at us — no matter what happens — we bend, but we don’t break,” Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor said.
Take heart. If they can do it, we can do it.
Remember these words.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning: “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.
But not only that.
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Never. Give. Up.