By Ms. Brandy C Ostanik (Army Medicine)January 30, 2018
FT. WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Members of the Fort Wainwright and Fairbanks community gathered together for the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Observance at the Fort Wainwright Northern Lights Chapel Jan. 11.
Medical Department Activity --Alaska, along with the Fort Wainwright Equal Opportunity Office sponsored this year's observance, "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A day on, not a day off!"
During his remarks, guest speaker, Rev. Darrell Jarmon, a former Soldier himself, acknowledged that the Soldiers in the crowd had likely been to many observances honoring Dr. King since 1983 when the law was passed to officially mark January 15 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"I know many of you come at this from my perspective where you've been to so many of these," said Jarmon. "I wanted to share something with you that you would be able to take away from this experience, where you could say, 'this is still worth acknowledging and observing.'"
Jarmon encouraged the audience to not just remember Dr. King as a great non-violence advocate for the civil rights movement, but to honor what he stood for.
"We are here to talk about Martin Luther King," said Jarmon. "We are here to honor not just the man, but his dream, his philosophy. We are here to pay tribute to the idea that his life meant more than just a protest. We are all here to equal rights based on that struggle and that is really something to cheer for."
Jarmon contended that Dr. King's philosophy was centered on service and challenged those in the audience to serve their community and those around them by referring to a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, "Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. It we cultivate the habit of doing the service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large."
It is Jarmon's belief that there are three reasons most people choose not to serve.
"Most people don't serve because one they think the timing is wrong. Two, they don't think they have the resources to do the service to the level that is expected and three think they don't have the personal skills themselves; that someone can do it better than they can," said Jarmon.
In a call to action, Jarmon challenged the audience not to give in to those three misconceptions or fears.
"My word to you today is very simple. Start where you are. Don't wait for the perfect time; now is the right time. Use what you have, don't wait to get something specific, do what you can. You can't do what MLK did, but he couldn't do what you can do. Martin Luther King Jr. can do no more, only you can go forward from here and I want you to go forth today and serve."