GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Every January, the Department of Defense honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria paid tribute to Dr. King with a themed celebration titled “Remember, Celebrate, Act – A day on, not a day off,” Jan. 17, at the Tower Barracks Theater.
Hundreds of Soldiers, DOD civilian employees and local nationals assigned to USAG Bavaria were in attendance to honor Dr. King’s life-long legacy and sacrifice, which still holds a significant impact in our country today.
Dr. King is well known for his leadership and bravery for his actions in the advancement of the civil rights movement through nonviolence protest.
Dr. King promoted peace while standing up to the injustice of the treatment of African-Americans in America up until his assassination in 1968.
Fifty-one years have passed since his assassination, yet his vision still resonates around biases facing our country today.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered Aug 28, 1963, he states:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
The remembrance ceremony serves as a reminder for all Soldiers to continue to engage in public service and promote peaceful social change.
Just like Dr. King, it’s our turn to emulate his use of powerful words and acts of nonviolence resistance, to continue to make a positive impact regarding the injustices that affect our great nation.
Dr. King delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech on Apr. 3, 1968.
While the speech was reflective of everyday life for people of color, it still reflects and speaks to the struggles many minorities face today.
And another reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; its nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.
Dr. King’s unfinished movement towards equality is an on-going battle and can be achieved through our united and enduring efforts.
This year’s guest speaker was the USAG Bavaria Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Sgt., Master Sgt. Imari Jackson. He highlighted a Soldier’s duty to stand when he or she sees something wrong.
“Don’t stay in passive compliance of wrong-doing. If you stand there and do nothing, you are saying it’s ok,” said Jackson. “We are charged with this responsibility: If you are seeing wrong-doing, we have to bring it up. We have to be strong enough to say ‘That is wrong,'” said Jackson.
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