The event, hosted by the 505th Quartermaster Battalion, included song, dance and poetry highlighted by Rosa Parks' actions at the start of the civil rights movement. Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger in 1955 in Montgomery. Ala.

1st Sgt. Federrica Virtue, first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 505th QM BN, said Soldiers of the unit pulled together to make this year's observance special.
"At some point during the preparation, it transcended military obligation and became personal. The unit as a family poured out their hearts into this event to ensure it would be well-remembered." explained Virtue.

Virtue explained the unit wanted to leave its mark on Okinawa as the event served as the unit's last observance due to an upcoming unit inactivation in the middle of March.

"As with each "last activity" we encounter the finality is bitter sweet, sweet because the program was a huge success and bitter because it was the team's last observance" said Virtue.

Air Force Chaplain Capt. Onyema G. Okorie, unit chaplain, 18th Wing Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, was the guest speaker during the observance. The highlight of Okorie's speech detailed two key African American history events; the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, D.C.

"The Proclamation and the march on Washington D.C. revealed that it took persons of good will, of moral integrity and of conviction to hear those voices and cries deep in the recesses of their hearts and minds. The result, it finally mustered the courage to start speaking against oppression and brutality," explained Okorie

Okorie told the audience it's important to remember the accomplishments of people like Rosa Parks and others who paved the way for the civil rights movement that ultimately changed American history forever.

"Each year our nation invites us during the month of February to recall and be mindful of the journey, struggles and accomplishments of Black Americans. We recognize and celebrate the contributions of African Americans in building our Nation into the great Nation it is today."

Page last updated Fri March 8th, 2013 at 00:00