Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

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29 responses »

  1. Wonderful lessons of peace from you today, Robin. This movie and you were meant to be. You are right. I’m glad you and “Selma” crossed each other’s bridge this weekend. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you tomorrow, my friend.

    • Thank you, I got to the library after work on Tuesday and have been playing catch up with my friends! So glad you felt the lessons were wonderful and that it was a good match for me to watch this movie, Mark! I am on a wait list at the library for some ‘lighter’ fare, along with still waiting to see “Amadeus” for the second time. Smiles!

  2. Dear Robin,
    What a perfect celebration and observation of Martin Luther King Day. It is good to look back and see how far our nation has come, not losing sight of how far we still have to go for this country to rule be a place where all citizens have equal rights and equal opportunities. A beautiful post!

    • Thank you very much, Naomi! I agree, we have come a long way but still there are many more hurdles to jump and goals to meet. I appreciate particularly how you mentioned “equal rights and equal opportunities.” The compliment of ‘beautiful’ warmed my heart!

  3. i am really looking forward to seeing this movie, and know i’ll be emotional, but worth it. what a history goes with all of this. how many lives were touched? powerful –

    • The whole movement was one that impacted more than we will ever be able to count. I was touched, moved, and all you will feel, too. Definitely one to see, Beth. Thanks for the comments. Like the simple word, “powerful.” yes!

  4. I saw David Oyelowo, who played MLK, Jr. in the movie Selma, interviewed on Letterman. Other than the jokes about a guy with a Nigerian accent playing an African American minister, he was amazing in person and incredible in the role.

    How appropriate that you would use the theme of bridges to honor our fallen hero on the holiday in his honor. I hope the movie gets shown for years to come in schools and churches and wherever people too young to have lived during the years when Dr. King was alive so that they might know of his legacy of peaceful protest, much like his Indian counterpart, Mahatma Gandhi. – Mike

    • I believe there are so many wonderful and gifted people, as you mentioned Mahatma Gandhi I instantly thought of Mother Theresa, too. I believe MLK, Jr. was a great man, with some human frailties like the rest of us. I thought David Oyelowo, the director and some of the characters in the movie, were outstanding. I liked being able to learn more about the whole thing, including the way Johnson acted very cautiously and would not bend to MLK, Jr.’s requests until the last moment in time, wishing that MLK, Jr. would get behind his War on Poverty and not be so focused on the voting and bigotry. I also wished to say that my Mom taught Malcolm X’s book in high school, so my brothers and I were ‘assigned’ summer reading, none of us had this offered in our own high school, Mike. I like and would recommend, for you and Florence, the fine movie, “Betty and Coretta.” Although it is a television movie, it was very well done, I loved learning about how the two women became friends and how they stood up and continued to speak throughout their lives, too.
      I am so glad you got a chance to see David O’s interview and also, the movie trailer. He seemed to be very good at representing the ‘essence’ of MLK, Jr. Thanks, Mike!

    • You know what? Oprah after they crossed the bridge on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015 said they are ‘grateful for the nomination for best song and movie of the year,’ and someone pressed her for her answer of how they were slighted. She shook her head and repeated, ‘We are so excited to have the nominations we got.’ She is such a positive person and is not going to let this setback in nominations get her down. The black female director was also saying the same thing. I liked that David O. didn’t even try to say anything, the time I saw them being asked.

      You are so right, though, Barb! The movie is well worthy of a nomination in the areas of acting, directing and screenplay.

    • I am so glad if you do get to see it, Colleen. It is very well done and I did enjoy the way they presented it, despite how sad it is at times. We cannot change the past but we can look forward to each improvement and hope for a better tomorrow, Colleen!!

  5. Robin, I get the sense that to cross that bridge today would render a transmission of what it took to walk over that and why it still matters. I live too far to attend the event in a couple of months but I can imagine it will be very profound. Thanks for sharing this here.

    • Diahann, this was such a lovely way to put this. I feel people will get transpired by walking across the bridge.
      I hope it made a difference to other areas of the world when MLK, Jr. and his group of people chose this ‘stand’ to take place.
      Our country definitely needed the changes and I am so proud of what MLK, Jr. did. I also have to admire Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and how Pope Francis is doing his part to change some of the Roman Catholic world, tipping it on its end!
      I believe the movie would still be interesting, but not one which you need to rush out and see, one that may be good in the living room, with the ability to pause and reflect. I watch all kinds of movies and really enjoyed every one of the “Mandela” movies, going back to when they first started talking about South Africa.

    • Thank you so very much! I appreciate this more since you saw the movie, and you are giving it a great review. It is always nice to have supportive comments! I love that word, “riveting.” You chose a very good one and I agree.
      Thank you for also saying I didn’t give too many subplots away and there are a lot of things still left to see and experience, if someone should see, “Selma.”
      I did feel David Oyelowo made me believe he was MLK, Jr. in all of his human form.

    • It will be there, one way or another, Brenda! I am going to save a few of the nominated movies, like “Wild” to see with my youngest daughter and “Grand Budapest Hotel” with my girlfriend, along with “Still Alice,” by myself, where I can pause and think. Cry, too. Hoping you have a lovely rest of the week, Brenda!

      • Grand Budapest Hotel was a riot. I want to see Wild, too. I will wait and see Still Alice when I am under less pressure. A bit crazed right now with a writer’s conference in a few weeks. Deep breath.

      • Oh, Brenda! Are you presenting at the writer’s conference or attending to gather more information? Thanks for letting me know about the riotous movie, I need this kind for relaxing! We all have such serious lives, at times. . . smiles for your deep breath!

    • I am so glad I was able to motivate you with this realistic goal. I felt a lot of positive feelings for this simple goal. Thanks also for saying it was a ‘good review,’ Timi!

    • Thanks, Jonathan! This is a lovely compliment and your calling me an angel is always sweet to hear. Bridges and arches do interchange well, you are so creative to put this together! You are a man with a good head and a way with words.

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