KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Songs, cheers, clapping hands and laughter filled the air as Soldiers, Army civilians and family members from throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community gathered at the Kaiserslautern Community Activity Center here Feb. 25 to observe black history month during the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and U.S. Army Garrison-Kaiserslautern black history month celebration.

"We didn't just want this event to be something everyone just came out and watched," said Sgt. 1st Class James Ligons, the USAG-K equal opportunity advisor. "We wanted it to be something everyone could participate in and be a part of."

The program began with a soulful rendition of the Negro Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," sung by Kali Holman, an Army spouse. During the song many of the audience members displayed their high spirits as they joined in and sang along.

The attendees were then enlightened as the guest speaker, Sgt. Maj. Linda Freno, the U.S. Army Europe equal opportunity sergeant major, addressed the audience. During her speech she commented on the theme of the program, which was the history of black economic empowerment. She also touched on the contributions that African-Americans have made to the collective American culture.

"African-Americans have made and continue to make vital contributions to our nation and the world," said Freno. "Recognizing and learning from history, including the struggles and triumphs of our diverse populations, has strengthened our nation."

Throughout the entire program, the hostess, Master Sgt. Gail Langford, the outgoing equal opportunity advisor for the 7th Civil Support Command, asked the crowd various black history trivia questions. Hands flew in the air as children and adults were eager to display their knowledge and possibly win a prize.

Following the guest speaker, the lights dimmed and everyone became silent as a touching slideshow presentation was presented.

"I enjoyed the entire event, but my favorite part would have to be the black history video," said Sgt. Alex Casaretto, a postal noncommissioned officer with the Human Resources Sustainment Center-Europe. "I was really moved by it and surprised to see the variety of people represented in it."

The program ended with two songs from the Vogelweh Choir, an upbeat Jazz selection from Marion Kaufman and presentations from Command Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Jessup, the USAG-K command sergeant major, to various people who helped put the event together.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. ~ Booker T. Washington

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