Living the dream, remembering MLK
January 21, 2012
By Staff Sgt. Regina R. Machine
Third Army Public Affairs
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Equal opportunity leaders from Third Army, Area Support Group -- Kuwait and 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) presented a program in honor of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance here Jan 16. The Department of Defense directed that the theme would be "A Day On, Not A Day Off."
Dr. King delivered the historic "I Have a Dream" speech 48 years ago, which he made famous during his campaign to end racial segregation on public transportation and achieve equality for all people.
Dr. King, used ideals of Christianity and operational techniques from Gandhi to shape his approach to equality, traveled over 6 million miles, spoke more than 2,500 times, wrote five books and articles, and caught the attention of the entire world. At the age of 35, he was also the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
During the celebration, Sgt. Tiffani Hightower, Third Army/ARCENT Equal Opportunity administrator and Atlanta native, read a poem titled "Standing Tall."
Later in the program, the "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered by Lt. Col. Raffel Prophett, deputy of plans assigned to Third Army/ARCENT. The Cincinnati native noted that he purposely didn't listen to the speech or do any research on it before he delivered his rendition of the speech.
"I was trying to feel the words," said Prophett. "My parents grew up in that era and how I delivered the speech was really about what the words meant to me."
After all the speeches were given and the songs were sung, EO leaders from various units stood up and recited various Dr. King quotes. The quotes received reactions from the audience, many cheering as they heard a quote they recognized, not knowing that it was originally attributed to Dr. King.
For Master Sgt. Maria Rawlings, 352nd Civil Affairs, 1st TSC, the words struck close to home.
"It was touching," the Fort Meade, Md. native noted. "He set the standard for us to follow. He did not narrow down his comments to one race, it was for all races and if we get this through our heads we will be much better off."
For many in attendance, a world with segregation was just a lesson covered in history class, but for some it was a reality.
"I grew up in the 60's during the transition period, my kids attended fully integrated schools and now we all live in integrated neighborhoods," stated Prophett.
The Department of Defense, Third Army, ASG-K, 1st TSC, and the Equal Opportunity programs commitment to reflecting on the past to shape the future remains a priority. Through future programs, Third Army and its subordinate commands will foster an environment of understanding, which stands to improve regional security and peace throughout Third Army's 20-country area of responsibility.