America is strongest when it's unified, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama said during Team Redstone's Black History Month program Feb. 17 at Bob Jones Auditorium.

"When we are at our best, ladies and gentlemen, the phrase 'I am an American' is powerful enough to trump circumstances," Davis said.

The Montgomery native said "what I answer to most proudly and definitively is a few simple words: I am an American."

He thanked the members of Team Redstone for their work in national security. Davis represents Alabama's 7th congressional district, a 12-county area that spans from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa to the Black Belt, and serves on the prestigious Ways and Means Committee, which oversees economic policy.

Recalling the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he said his most vivid image is seeing Americans leaping from the burning World Trade Center buildings. He said these were Americans - regardless of gender or race. "Our enemies that day had no patience for the distinctions we have of one another," Davis said.

Regardless of where they lived, what they had or didn't have or their color, they were Americans just the same, the congressman stressed. "How dare we think that these things are more meaningful than what we have in common," he said.

"That concept, Americanize, is special," Davis said. "That is our trump card."

Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal, welcomed the program's estimated 400 attendees.

"This is one of our ethnic observances," Myles said. "We do these remembrances so we don't forget, so we don't repeat the past, because we don't want to repeat the past."

Sgt. 1st Class Lance Green, installation equal opportunity adviser, served as master of ceremonies. "On behalf of Team Redstone, thank you all for taking time from your busy schedules to help us all celebrate Black History Month," he said.

This year's Black History Month theme is "The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas." Winners of the essay competition were: first place, Dineesha Hobbs of the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; and second, K.C. Bertling, also of PEO-Missiles and Space. The display winners were: first place, PEO-Missiles and Space; second, 2nd Army Recruiting Brigade; and third, U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.