By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJanuary 19, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was one of equality for all, and Fort Rucker honored his service and sacrifice with hopes to keep that dream alive.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program was held at the post theater Jan. 12 where hundreds came together to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of King with the theme, "One Nation United: Keep the Dream Alive."
"Today, we are here in order to continue our efforts to see Dr. King's dream become a reality," said Col. Shannon T. Miller, Fort Rucker garrison commander, during the ceremony. "It's only through our unified efforts that we can better identify and challenge those barriers that inhibit the inclusion of all people from accessing the great opportunities that we have here in America.
"If you take a look around this theater, you will see a very diverse group, but what can't be seen amongst this crowd is that we all share a common desire for liberty and freedom -- to pursue fulfillment and success not only for ourselves, but for our families and our communities," she continued. "This shared desire is far stronger than a focus on our differences, and can do more to bring us together and unify us as a people."
Throughout the program, scriptures were read and songs were sung in honor of King, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. James W. Harris Sr., former Fort Rucker Equal Employment Opportunity officer, was on hand to talk about what King's teachings meant to him.
Harris spoke about King's connection to God, his commitment to the cause and that the seeds were sown through his efforts that allowed future generations to "reap the harvest" of equality.
"Throughout his life, Dr. King was arrested some 30 times, and not because he was a bad person, but because he wanted to stand up and get the nation to live out the creed that all men are created equal. All he wanted to do was get the rights that had been promised to the citizens," he said.
"Dr. King remained committed to nonviolence and he remained committed to what he believed in … and he went to his grave living what he believe," Harris continued. "By the time Dr. King delivered his 'I've Been to the Mountaintop' speech the night before he was assassinated in April 1968, it was obvious that he was ready and willing to die for the greater cause of humanity."
He spoke of the struggles that those before had to endure and the reason for King's fight, a struggle that still goes on to this day, he said, but because of the seeds sown by King, things have changed over the years.
It's because of those years of commitment that King put into fighting for a cause that he believed by applying principles of love and nonviolence that the nation has become a better place to live, added Miller.
"This day represents a call to duty for all of us to join and continue the effort by making a positive impact on our community by standing up for the liberties for all," said the garrison commander. "Dr. King valued service to others and encouraged people to give back to people in service to their community. I encourage you during this new year to keep Dr. King's dream alive and join the effort to make us one nation united."
"Shame on all of us if we let this dream die," said Harris. "We must keep the dream alive by letting the dream live in us. We must be our best selves by helping others and by modeling the kind of behavior that we would like to see in others. If we will heed the theme of this celebration and live out the dream of Dr. King, this will be a wonderful world with beautiful people."