FORT KNOX, Ky. -- The U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC) gathered with the Fort Knox and neighboring Kentucky community for the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance on Jan. 16 at Fort Knox Saber and Quill.

In an event hosted together with Fort Knox, the Kentuckian Blues Society, Inc. and the Omicron Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, USACC encouraged attendees to ponder the meaning of the year's theme: "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A day on, not a day off!"

The guest speaker Austin Wingate, deputy director of admissions at American National University in Louisville, spent part of his childhood here on Fort Knox, graduating from Fort Knox High School before attending Webster University, where he earned both his bachelor's and a master's degrees.

Deputy Commanding General Antonio V. Munera introduced Mr. Wingate by asking the audience to "reflect on what more we can do here at Fort Knox, in our Army and in our society to advance the things that Dr. King fought for."

During his remarks, Wingate discussed Dr. King's fourth and final book "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community" and drew similarities between American society in 1967, when the book was published, and American society now.

"There's the struggle against segregation, deteriorating education, dilapidated housing and the lack of job opportunities--these are still issues we face right here in 2020, right here in America, right here in Kentucky, right here in Hardin County, right outside the gates of Fort Knox."

Wingate asked attendees whether they preferred chaos or community, stagnation or progress. Culminating in a call-and-response, Wingate asked the audience, "What do you want in this world?" Audience members shouted out that they desired community, progress and positive change in their society.

He recognized it is easy to become complacent when you are comfortable -- but challenged those who are able to, to get involved, "As long as you reach out and change one life, that one life is better than hundreds of brainless followers. Remember that it's the quality, not the longevity that defines the importance of one's life."

Wingate finished with a literal call-to-action for the audience, asking them to keep thinking on Dr. King's life and actions beyond the afternoon and beyond the national holiday. "Find your niche, your placement, your cause," he said, "It's 2020 now."