SEMBACH, Germany – More than a half century after his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief that peaceful protest can eliminate social injustice still challenges the world to live up to the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence – that all are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Every year on the third Monday of January, the United States observes King’s birthday with a national day of service. The theme for this year’s observance was “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”
Soldiers and civilian employees from U.S. Army NATO Brigade commemorated King’s life on Jan. 12 with an event that included a one-mile walk to honor the 1963 March on Washington lead by King to advocate for civil and economic rights for African-Americans.
During this year’s walk, participants stopped along the way to hear presentations on three different aspects of King’s life and participation in the civil rights movement: the Poor People’s Campaign, the Give Us the Ballot Campaign, and King’s formative years.
“This month we are celebrating the effort to ensure the dignity and respect of everybody,” said Capt. Tessa Barbee, commander, HHC U.S. Army NATO Brigade. “This includes military personnel, family members and civilian employees without regard to race, color, gender, religion, age or disability. We are sustaining the effort by acknowledging and learning from and celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our team has put in a great deal of effort to teach us all about the civil rights leader and his fight against discrimination, racism and hate.
“I ask that you all stay cognizant while we embark on this EO event. We are trying to achieve something by putting time and effort into the EO program, but we are also here to further our day-to-day pursuit of dignity and respect as a force multiplier.
“Equity and justice, kindness and acceptance, dignity and respect, all boils down to action and a deliberate day-today pursuit from all of you.”
After the walk and presentations, participants enjoyed a lunch of sandwiches and chips while watching a documentary on King.
King dedicated his life to equality and justice for all and challenged the nation to judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
The mission of U.S. Army NATO Brigade is to provide ready and resilient Soldiers to the NATO alliance by ensuring U.S. Army Soldiers and their families assigned to NATO billets receive the support they need to thrive in a variety of environments at 81 locations in 22 countries.
For more information check out the U.S Army NATO Brigade website.