VICENZA, Italy — Community members celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy during a Jan. 12 prayer breakfast at Caserma Ederle.
More than 80 people took part in the event, held at U.S. Army Garrison Italy’s Golden Lion conference center. It was organized by Vicenza gospel service and the Vicenza Women of Color. The early morning event was an opportunity for Soldiers and civilians to reflect on past injustices King fought during the civil rights movement and highlight diversity in today's Army.
Maj. Gen. Todd Wasmund, commanding general, Southern European Task Force-Africa, stressed the importance of the events.
“Events like this are how we celebrate diversity,” Wasmund said. “I truly believe that diversity makes our organization stronger."
Every third Monday of January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, is observed across the country as a National Day of Service. This day marks the birthday of the civil rights leader and activist.
The theme of the day, “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” encourages individuals to dedicate the day to community service in remembrance of Dr. King’s remarkable legacy and to commit ourselves to instilling his principles of unity and equity throughout the world.
Col. Matthew Gomlak, who commands U.S. Army Garrison Italy and Col. Michele Amendolagine, Italian Base Commander, also took part. During the breakfast, Maj. Sharon Browne, the 207th MI Brigade (T) chaplain offered the invocation, followed by the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Col. Mark Denton, who commands 207th MI Brigade (T), was the guest speaker. He shared what impact King had on his life and the life of others.
“I stand before you as a product of what Dr. King stood for,” Denton said. “If it wasn’t for Dr. King, I wouldn't be a colonel in the United States Army.”
Today, the Army continues to build on King’s legacy, Denton said.
“His resilience in the face of adversity will continue to inspire this generation,” Denton said. “We're able to bring in new ideas, new thoughts, and individuals from different backgrounds. That's what makes us so much stronger.”