JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. -- A choir belted as service members and civilians from all different walks of life gathered under one roof to celebrate and honor the legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The America's First Corps Equal Opportunity Team held a ceremony for service and community members on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Jan 17.
The ceremony commemorated King's life and his contributions to unity and equality.
A diverse force, the U.S. Army helps keep King's vision of unity and equality alive with its Equal Opportunity program (EO). Provided to military members, civilians and family members, EO helps eliminate discriminatory behavior to keep the U.S. Army strong.
America's First Corps Deputy Command Chaplain, Lt. Col. Martin Kendrick Sr., stressed the importance of equal opportunity as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
Kendrick recited a segment from King's speech "I've Been To The Mountaintop."
"If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had, "said Kendrick, quoting King.
In 1958, at one of King's book signings, he was stabbed and rushed to the the hospital for emergency surgery. After his surgery, King was told that if he had made any sudden movements, such as sneeze, he would have died.
Kendrick said, "I've Been To The Mountaintop" is a speech not known by many, but captures the humility of King, and that is why he chose it.
Established Nov 2, 1983, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated throughout the nation and on U.S. military installations worldwide the third Monday each January.
No matter your race, sex or religion, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day everyone can come together and celebrate the United States King had a dream about, said Kendrick.
"No matter your political affiliation, no matter what you have gone through, changes still need to be had," said Kendrick. "You've got to imagine Dr. King's glorious satisfaction at the strides we've made. It is up to each and every one of us to ensure that we keep the dream alive, that we stand up for the voiceless, that we right the injustices of the world and that we stand up to ensure that all are treated fairly."