'I Have a Dream' speech re-enacted during Natick celebration
Soldiers and civilian employees of the Natick Soldier Systems Center re-enact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech during a Jan. 23 celebration of his birthday.

NATICK, Mass. -- Nearly a half-century after it was delivered, his "I Have a Dream" speech was re-enacted Jan. 23 during a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday at Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Soldiers and civilian employees gathered on stage at Hunter Auditorium to give voice to the famous words King uttered Aug. 23, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., during the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."

Betty Davis of NSSC's Black Employment Program Committee read President Barack Obama's proclamation of the federal holiday two days earlier, which stated in part: "Today, we celebrate a man whose clarion call stirred our nation to bridge our differences and whose legacy drives us to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice. By words and example, Dr. King reminded us that 'Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.'"

Wilena Rosemond-Lopes, another committee member, spoke of the speech as a "turning point" in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in America.

"Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech and the March on Washington during which it was given have both had far-reaching impact and great significance over the last several decades," Rosemond-Lopes said. "Dr. King's speech is regarded by many as one of the top ten speeches in American history."

Lt. Col. Frank Sobchak, U.S. Army Garrison Natick commander, said that the speech probably ranks first on his personal list.

"It serves as our collective conscience as a nation," Sobchak said. "It reminds us that we can do better, that we must."

Sobchak added that the speech should resonate at NSSC.

"We are hearing the Army values," Sobchak said. "You hear about loyalty, integrity, duty, selfless service, honor, personal courage."

Page last updated Thu January 24th, 2013 at 13:50