GA senator encourages 3rd ID Soldiers to 'let freedom ring'
January 20, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Third Infantry Division joined in on the nation's celebration and remembrance of Civil Rights Icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during an equal opportunity observance ceremony held at Fort Stewart, Jan. 18.
"Today, let us remember; let us celebrate and let us act," said Honorable Lester G. Jackson, Georgia State Senator and keynote speaker during the ceremony, highlighting this year's theme. "Let us remember Dr. King's sacrifice, his trials and tribulations (and) his pledge to stand against injustice. Let us celebrate his life's teachings and his principles. And then, we must act decisively and united at this year's observance to let freedom ring."
This year marks the 26th anniversary of a federal holiday that honors King's legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others.
The notable civil rights activist would have been 83-years-old, Jan. 16; however he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., April 4, 1968.
Fort Stewart's celebration of King's life opened in song. Members of the installation's gospel service choir sang hymns to commemorate King who was a part of the Christian ministry.
An excerpt of King's most famous "I have a dream" speech followed the choir's tribute and hundreds of Soldiers in attendance re-lived a fraction of the legendary passage that King delivered Aug. 28, 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
"We need to remember him," said Jackson, as he encouraged the 3rd Inf. Div. Soldiers to follow King's leadership in their daily lives. "We need to remember that there was a man that stood for something."
Jackson went on to say that just as King moved for freedom in America, service members should continue to move for freedom in those nations that cannot.
"It is our duty and our responsibility to let freedom ring from the mountain region of Afghanistan," he said. "Let freedom ring from the sandy hills of Iraq. … As we the military, we must let freedom ring through service, through sacrifice, through honor. We must let freedom ring through achievement through excellence and courage. These words symbolize the life and legacy of Dr. King, yet these are the same words that are engrained in the distinct unit insignia of our nation's military."
The senator closed by encouraging troops to recommit their lives to King's dream.
"…that all children can grow up in a world where they are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.