We at Buddy Bench Ireland are looking for your help in finding Martin who in 1984 was a nine year old boy in Dublin. Martin would be forty four today, do you know him…….
This is Reggie’s Story
” May 29, 2019 For over 30 years, I was a cameraman for CNN, based in Washington, D.C. In my 32 years, I traveled the world filming every United States president from Reagan to Obama. One such presidential trip took place in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan visited Dublin. One of my assignments during President Reagan’s trip to Ireland was to set up my TV equipment for a live TV broadcast. The broadcast took place at St. Stephens Green Park, near Trinity College. A crowd of around 50 or so towns people gathered to watch.
As was my custom throughout my CNN career, if there was time, I would choose a young child from a crowd to make them an “Honorary CNN Reporter.” Reason being, because you never know who you’ll inspire. On this day more than 30 years ago, I spotted a young Irish boy with the happiest smile ever. I waved the young lad over and I asked him how old he was. The boy replied, “I’m 9 years old, sir.” I said, “ Great, you meet the Union requirements.” 🙂 So, I gave him a couple of cables to plug in, then showed him how to turn on the TV light, etc. As the time was nearing for the actual CNN reporter to arrive, I thanked the young boy and then wished him well. As the boy walked away, it dawned on me that I never asked him his name. I called out, “Young man, what’s your name?” The young boy stopped, turned around and said, “ Martin.” I said, “Oh, that’s a nice name.” Martin said, “ Thank you sir, my Mum named me after her hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
I froze, and my eyes filled with tears because I grew up in the segregated Jim Crow era of my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama. I was a 9 year old boy, like Martin, when Alabama State troopers brutally beat hundreds of peaceful protesters marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Their crime: marching to register to vote! This awful day was called “Bloody Sunday.” Yes, Ireland and America share this “name of pain.” Two weeks after “Bloody Sunday,” Dr. King led thousands of peaceful protesters across that same bridge. Only this time, they were not to be denied!
My father, Reverend Joseph Selma, was a baptist minister. His church was less than 2 miles from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. That is why I became so emotional that day in Dublin, when this bright eyed Irish boy told me the origin of his name. After Martin told me the story behind his name, I heard someone call MY name. It was my crew and CNN reporter, saying, “Reggie, we are LIVE in 30 seconds!” I raced back to my video camera just in the nick of time. I turned around to find Martin, but he had disappeared back into the crowd, which by now had grown larger. That was the last time I saw Martin; 35 years ago. It has been a dream of mine, all of these years, to find Martin again, to tell him that he is MY hero, too. He would now be a man in his early 40s.
I told this incredible story in a speech at this year’s InspireFest19 in Dublin, Ireland. I retired from CNN a couple of years ago, and have since become an international speaker. (ReggieSelma.com) After my speech, it seemed like everyone in Dublin was asking me, “ Have you found Martin?” An official from InspireFest19 even told me that my story on Martin (#FindMartin) was Trending #1 on Twitter Ireland. Just behind the death of “ Grumpy Cat” 🙂 You may confirm this from Friday, May 17, 2019. I would like to enlist your help in finding Martin. It is truly a heartwarming story, to say the least. “