SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Jan. 15, 2010) - Soldiers and family members paid special tribute to the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a special observance Jan. 13 at the Sgt. Smith Theater here.

The theme for the night, "A Day On ... not a Day Off," included singing, dancing, prayers, and proclamations to honor the accomplishments of Dr. King.

"Team Equal Opportunity Hawaii, sponsors all the mandated observances that happen throughout the year," said Master Sgt. Ray McCall, 8th Sustainment Brigade (Provisional), 8th Theater Sustainment Command. "The MLK Jr. observance is one of those tasks that we all love to come together for in order to honor great Americans who paved the way for many of us today."

Dr. King was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. His legacy included securing progress on civil rights in the United States.

"The reason we like to celebrate Dr. King is so we can bring awareness through the military community," McCall said. "We must never forget where we were and where we are today as people because of King's work. It's working as a team, and the relationships that we have today, which are a direct result of King's actions during the civil rights movement."

During the ceremony, Soldiers bore witness to a reciting of the presidential proclamation, which recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day officially as the third Monday in January, near the time of King's birthday.

"I think the powerful statement, which was echoed tonight by all our speakers was that we all need to work together to renew our relationships with ourselves, our Soldiers, our units and our families," McCall said. "With regards to King's legacy, I think we all need to leave here with the understanding to remain together as one, and never as a divided people again."

Krish Dhanam, who served as the guest speaker for the event, called the event an important opportunity to recognize a milestone in history.

"Most people who have shaped history have allowed those of us to look back and benefit from it, so I have a very simple saying, "you can either let your past meet you, or you can let it teach you," Dhanam said. "As a follower of Dr. King's work, any opportunity to talk about the lessons we can learn from history allows all of us to remember our past and work toward a brighter future."

The observance ended with the New Life Body of Christ Praise Team, singing "Precious Lord," the song sung at King's funeral, and a commitment from those attending to never forget the accomplishments of one of America's pioneers for civil rights.

"I think we've come a long way within the last 50-years," McCall said. "From what was in the past, and how society has changed, we can move on and do bigger and better things for each other all thanks to the work of King."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16