Lucky to Have Leaders Among Us: The Legacy of Founders
Leadership influences others, creates visions and brings them to reality. Leaders often amaze with their insight and keen perception. They take charge when everything around them is crumbling, or they have the ability to encourage and give that extra 10% that makes a difference to the outcome.
Leaders pop up in every industry: politics, society, church, and family. Some of the greatest leaders gave people strength in dark times or were agents of change. Their legacy often remains long after they are gone, and sometimes the loss of the leader makes us realize how truly valuable they were. Leaders impact lives and change history’s view of the world.
As Everlasting Footprint enters the launch of our groundbreaking digital tribute social network, we want to celebrate a few of the 20th century leaders who inspire and drive us every day.
A true visionary, Walt Disney imagined a world where cartoon characters built a “happy place” for families. His entertainment was innovative; he created characters that we fell in love with and haven’t stopped loving. One of the most familiar faces in the world, Mickey Mouse has experience making over eight decades of audiences smile and laugh at his antics. Now, the name “Disney” on a movie stamps it as family-friendly entertainment.
Disney’s technology was cutting edge, using holograms and animated figures to make audiences feel as though animated characters actually came to life. The dreams Disney realized at Disneyland with rides such as the Haunted Mansion and Mission Space paved the way for future thrills on Splash Mountain and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Mixing whimsy into his engineering, everything Disney made was pure imagination.
We also respect and revere people who overcame adversity with such flair that their existence is humbling. Helen Keller was both deaf and blind, yet learned to do everything we take for granted, and more. She went to college, became a speaker for disadvantaged people, and shone her light as an example of never giving up. Keller faced life bravely, and excelled. Traveling the world, she spoke to inspire millions. She co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union and rallied support for the blind. Writing on social issues, Keller raised social awareness and triumphed over difficulties. Helen Keller was a teacher to everyone.
Overcoming abuse and destitution in early life, Maya Angelou followed her dreams. She never lost faith in mankind, no matter how tough life became. She wrote books and poetry, produced plays, acted in humanitarian efforts, showed wisdom, and was recognized with over 60 honorary degrees. Angelou went on to win three Grammies for her spoken word albums and was an essential leader for women, for African Americans, and for poets. Angelou’s ability to remain positive and grounded amidst change and chaos showed her strength of character, and she remains an example of grace and dignity.
World-wide changes and numerous other leaders were influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. With his peaceful protests and hunger strikes, he changed the structure of civil disobedience. His impressive actions for peace include his leading hundreds of people in a protest march to the sea to gather salt, which was controlled by the government at the time.
An outspoken advocate for India’s independence from Great Britain, Gandhi never sought attention for himself and lived a simple life. His presence was so great, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and continued to promote his message of equality until he died, giving his life standing up for others and his beliefs. An incredible instrument of strength in turbulent times, Gandhi’s example guides those with peaceful hearts.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. carried on the principles of Gandhi, utilizing nonviolent protests to change civil rights in the United States. He brought awareness to the many inequities for African Americans and used peaceful protests to change the scope of history. He fought for equal education, for equal access to all government services, and for equal treatment under the law. King peacefully brought awareness to the reality of America’s civil rights issues, and like Gandhi, he lost his life in service to his cause. A man of faith and wisdom, Dr. King was a leader for the US in one of its most important moments.
Being in the presence of a true leader is awe inspiring, a spiritual experience. It drives us to want to high-five or shake hands with a leader who gives us the goosebumps. Real leaders are self aware and don’t take glory for themselves, but give credit where it is due.
Everlasting Footprint is dedicated to celebrating the lives of all types of leaders. Remember the people who influenced your world by creating a Footprint for your loved ones, sharing their stories, and describing the everlasting impression they left on your life.