Event encourages community to help disadvantaged people
Members of the DOTD Music Ensemble perform at last year's USAACE and Fort Rucker Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 12 with a commemorative program that urges the community to seek out opportunities to help the disadvantaged.

"Dr. King did not just fight for the rights of African Americans; he fought for the rights of the underprivileged all over our country. People all over the world have benefited from his struggle. It's important for us, for our children and grandchildren, to contemplate, 'what can I do as an individual to serve humanity?'" said Timothy Knighton, Fort Rucker Equal Employment Opportunity manager and event coordinator.

This year's ceremony is Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. at the post theater, and will offer a combination of education, entertainment and inspiration, said Knighton.

"Dr. King was someone who advocated fighting for the rights and the needs of the poor, underclass and underprivileged. He gave his life for that endeavor, and that's the ultimate sacrifice that one can make. When you think about what freedom means to us as Americans -- we've been engaged in two wars over the past 10 years, and so many Soldiers have given their lives for freedom. [Dr. King] felt so strongly about addressing the needs of the poor and underprivileged. He fought so hard and gave up his life for that. That's worth acknowledging," he said.

Included in the program will be performances by the Fort Rucker Primary School first grade choir, a praise dancing performance by local dancers, and musical performances and spoken word poetry by Fort Rucker Soldiers.

"We had the primary school choir last year and they were a great success, so we asked them to participate again this year. The children are very excited. The praise dancing also creates a lot of excitement for the audience. All of the events are intended to make the program entertaining, educational and inspiring,"

This year's guest speaker is W. Charles Lewis, pastor of Dothan Community Church, who will speak on the many contributions King made in his life.

"[Lewis] is a member of the clergy, so he's someone who will contribute significantly to our program by being able to speak on the role Dr. King played in addressing poverty in our country and the intellectual initiatives that Dr. King undertook," Knighton said.

Along with celebrating King's birthday and life, Knighton said that the ceremony aims to promote charitable action on Monday's holiday. He hoped that Soldiers, civilians and Family members would seek out opportunities to assist the disadvantaged.

"This sense of community service is what this day is about -- it's a day on, not a day off. There are so many ways that we can participate in meeting the needs of those who have not. It's even more important today, in terms of what we are experiencing with our economy, to assist our fellow man. In every one of our communities, there is some kind of outreach opportunity," he said.

Page last updated Thu January 12th, 2012 at 00:00