NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. -- Personnel from U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, offices took a break from their busy schedules to attend USASAC-NC's annual Martin Luther King Day Observance Jan. 24.
The day's event consisted of a potluck luncheon, a showing of the biographical movie King, and a round table discussion of the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Many members of the USASAC family were excited to attend the observance, not only to break bread with their fellow employees, but to have an open dialog about one of history's greatest heroes.
"Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King was the indispensable leader of his time. Others might eventually have achieved what he did, but he did it with relatively little bloodshed and violence and with great class and humility. That's worthy of celebration," said Ann Scott, event organizer and chief of USASAC G4 Services and Products Division.
King was one of the premier leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the early 50s who was known for promoting and advancing civil rights through nonviolent means. His nonviolent practices and activism for equality eventually earned King the Noble Peace Prize in 1964; he was only 34 years old when he received the prestigious award.
"I look up to him as someone much larger than life. It is almost unbelievable to think that he was in his early 20s when he started, and only 39 when he was taken. Yet he had the wisdom, knowledge and maturity of someone much older," said Michael Casciaro, assistant chief of staff for Logistics and Acquisition and senior USASAC representative in New Cumberland.
"He was a brilliant man, extremely courageous, and he knew how it would end. He told us so in his famous speech, 'I've Been to the Mountaintop'. Yet nothing would stop him."
Tragically, just a day removed from giving his historic "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech (a speech in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted his own demise), he was assassinated outside of his room at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
And though the news of his death sent shockwaves around the world, it caused then President Lyndon B. Johnson to spring to action.
Just two weeks removed from King's death, Johnson approved the Fair Housing Act. A landmark victory for the Civil Rights Movement and a fitting tribute to King's legacy. A legacy that left a lasting impression on Tiphanie N. Brackins, the Equal Employment Opportunity specialist at USASAC-NC.
"His legacy is something that I try to embody in my work and in my life every day. I firmly, without a shadow of a doubt, believe in justice for all and loving all! If I touch at least one person in my lifetime, I feel like my job will be well done. Dr. King extended grace and forgiveness, regardless of the crime or wrongdoing. I will practice this every day of my life!"