FORT LEE, Va. – The 59th Ordnance Brigade hosted the Combined Arms Support Command’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. observance on January 20. The event highlighted the Army’s 'People First' priority of building a more diverse and inclusive Army.
Dr. King's famous ‘I have a dream’ speech on equality, hope and healing for all was showcased by Ms. Bravita Threatt, a professional dancer. Her dance was accompanied by quotes and statements from a diverse group of Soldiers from Bravo Company, 16th Ordnance Battalion, who spoke about what Dr. King’s vision has meant to them.
“Performing to the powerful words of the Soldiers not only intensified my dance but drove home the connection of our past hurts to our present challenges,” said Ms. Threatt.
Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, Army Inspector General and guest speaker for the event, remarked, "We have to watch forward, communicate forward, to challenge forward, to not only what we saw on January 6, but what we saw this summer and what we've seen these past years about treating everyone with dignity and respect.”
The Department of Defense 2021 theme - ‘Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!’ - commemorates, honors and celebrates Dr. King's legacy and his vision of equality for all. The theme challenges all service members to continue to work together to achieve the national goal of creating a perfect union regardless of color, gender or creed.
Dr. King was the driving force behind the Civil-Rights Movement and advocated for non-violent protests to end racial discrimination.
The Army continues King’s legacy through Project Inclusion - a holistic effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion among its Soldiers, Army civilians and family members. Project Inclusion is one way the Army puts ‘people first’ and strives to build a culture of trust within its ranks.
Lt. Gen. Smith closed the observance with a challenge to service members in today’s force. "My challenge to you is, what you see today, what you've seen in the past years, that we have to be the agent of change. Remember. Celebrate. But more importantly, we have to act. You have to be present to act."
The observance was streamed live through the 59th Ordnance Brigade Facebook page, where it is available to watch at any time in the future.