USAG DAEGU, Korea- The 25th Transportation Battalion, Materiel Support Command-Korea, 19th Expeditionary Support Command, Camp Henry, Daegu, hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. observance ceremony, Jan. 11 at the Camp Henry post theater.
The venue was completely packed as Area IV Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, contractors, local nationals and Family members gathered to remember and honor the legacy of King. Born in 1929, King would become most known for his unwavering commitment to the fight for equality as an icon of the civil rights movement in America during the 50s and 60s.
During this annual event, the audience watched a presentation of videos and live actors depicting the life and history of King, from birth, to his assassination on April 4, 1968. Soldiers with the transportation battalion and other Area IV units, also sang musical selections of equality and hope during the presentation.
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea, accepted the invitation from Brig. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., commander of the 19th ESC, and delivered a keynote speech during the ceremony, where he reflected on the history and contributions of king.
Brooks took to the podium first thanking Soldiers who reenacted the history and events that took place during King's life journey.
"For a child who lived during that time, you brought me back many decades," said Brooks. "Very well done and I'm very proud of you."
Brooks then went on to address the audience on the significance of King's work and why we pause to remember him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Martin Luther King Day is a day on; not a day off," said Brooks. "That expression is not about the work schedule for the day, it is about the obligation we have, to be about the work of justice, equality and mutual respect. Not just on this day, but on every day."
Continuing his speech, Brooks highlighted the effect King's struggle, and his message of equality, has had on people globally.
"He left an indelible mark on America and indeed the world, forever changing our nation and her people," said Brooks. "Dr. King's accomplishments are legion and during his short 39 years in this world, he fundamentally changed the United States of America in ways that were difficult to imagine in his day."
King once said, "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now." This proved evident on this day, as a richly diverse crowd, in a small theater in South Korea, attentively heard the words of Brooks who began his closing remarks reminding audience members of King's far reaching legacy.
"He was more than just a man or a simple historic figure. He was the embodiment of a set of profound Ideas," said Brooks. "He inspired generations of people to come together and bridge the gaps of intolerance, apathy and ignorance."
Before the ceremony came to a close, Brooks was presented with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Area IV community. The audience then listened to a final musical selection called, "A Change is Gonna Come" by American recording artist Sam Cooke, sang by Lt. Col. Ulekeya Hill, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and the director of the 6th Regional Cyber Center-Korea.
Additionally, Brooks presented coins for excellence to each Soldier who participated in the presentation before departing. All these Soldiers worked many hours rehearsing, singing and acting, to make this observance possible and such a great event.