I was the student government association president in 1967. I was a second semester freshman... So I was told that we were going to be meeting Doctor King at the airport and the first thing that struck me was the fact that were a couple police cars on the tar mat. And I said why are there police cars here? Well it didn't take very long to figure out that this was somebody that could be a controversial figure that needed some protection.
It was really quite a striking experience because he had chartered a plane from Indiana and the Dean, Paul Zainer was there the mayor of Wausau was there and they flew in on this private aircraft and we actually drove out onto the tar mat which was kind of an interesting thing because I figured we would walk into the terminal and he would come in and meet us. Now we were there to pick him up from the airplane.
What my memory really revolves around is a whole series of photographs that were taken by one of the student newspaper photographers. So my context is what I see in the photographs. I remember speaking with him I remember shaking his hand. I remember doing passive "chit-chat" and things like that and sharing the stage with him. He related to what was going on in terms of the history of the civil rights movement and he built to kind of a crescendo of more passion as time went on. But he also brought it to the thoughts of the day and that was the Vietnam War.
After King spoke I started thinking differently about my fellow citizens, my fellow students, my fellow countrymen and realized that life didn't revolve around my little sphere of influence in Wausau, that I had to think beyond that and it became increasingly obvious to me over the course of the day that I had really just come into contact with somebody that would stay with me throughout the course of my life.