Nine-year old inspires at MLK Jr. prayer breakfast
A young Heidelberg resident recites Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at a prayer breakfast Jan. 13 in the Patton Barracks dining facility in Heidelberg, Germany.

HEIDELBERG, Germany - Not many nine-year olds are up at the crack of dawn preparing to deliver one of the most memorable speeches in civil rights history.

Jordan Coney, a third-grade student at Mark Twain Elementary in Heidelberg school, is a modest, soft-spoken young boy by nature, but when his mother, a member of the Equal Opportunity committee in Heidelberg, asked if he'd like to give King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Jordan jumped at the opportunity.

"I know he has a talent for remembering things really well and he truly wanted to do it," Coney's mom, Sgt. 1st Class Edith M. Taylor, the Equal Opportunity adviser for the European Medical Command said. "I told him he had to feel a passion for it."

Jordan, who's fond of history, said the meaning of the speech and the significance of the man who gave it touched him. "Everybody should be able to do whatever they want (in life)," he said.

The prayer breakfast held Jan. 13 at the Patton Barracks dining facility, began routinely. After the invocation, a soulful vocalist belted out various musical selections for those in attendance.

Others, still moving their heads along with the music, flipped through the program to see what was next on the schedule.

In the back dining area, a giddy Staff Sgt. Marvin Taylor and his wife, Edith, stood, scanning for Jordan.

Right on cue, the vocalist handed the microphone to a young man dressed in a suit. "I have a dream," Jordan recited proudly, channeling King's inspirational eloquence.

Jordan finished the recital to a huge round of applause and said he was glad he took the chance to pay tribute to one of history's heroes.

The boy, whose sharp memory allowed him to recite King's speech word for word, "really catapulted the prayer breakfast," said Master Sgt. Mark Jordan, the equal opportunity advisor for U.S. Army in Europe.

Col. Douglas K. Kinder, who followed the speech recital with one of his own, said the young, well-spoken boy was inspiring. "Those were some powerful words," Kinder said. "It's intimidating to get up in front of all these people and recite things from memory. He was a tough act to follow," he said.

Kinder, the chaplain for Installation Management Command-Europe, capped off the prayer breakfast and said observances of King's birthday and other holidays are important to military communities because they're teaching tools for younger generations. "It's a classic reminder of the road that was paved for us to give us equality and freedom," said Kinder. "There is another generation ready to take their dream and realize it."

As for what Jordan wants to do later in life, he said, "I'm not sure, I never thought about that. Maybe (become) a doctor," he said.

Page last updated Thu January 20th, 2011 at 08:30