By Mr. Alex Mcveigh (IMCOM)January 15, 2010
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall welcomed living history through its gates Tuesday, as the Rev. Samuel Kyles spoke to a crowd of Soldiers, Marines and civilians at the Fort Myer Community Center.
Kyles, along with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, was with Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 1968, when he was assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis motel. The theme of his speech was dreams and their importance to every single person on the planet.
"It's not like one day the dream can be realized, and we can all go to the beach," Kyles said. "Each generation must work to keep it alive." Kyles tours the country speaking on King's life and legacy, and he often escorts dignitaries to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which is the site where King was killed. He has taken eight Nobel Peace Prize winners there, including Nelson Mandela, who "wept openly." He also emphasized that the younger generation has to do their part, mentioning that all of King's inner circle, including King himself, were under 40 while they participated in the Civil Rights Movement.
After the speech, the audience lined up for photos and autographs. Everyone there wanted to meet him to thank him, tell him a story, or just have their photo taken with someone who personally witnessed history. Kyles enjoys speaking to military audiences, saying that they "are so giving, and have such a special sense of sincerity."
He closed his speech by talking about how the people who change the world often don't live to see their dreams realized, but it doesn't make their work any less important. "Pioneers don't often get to walk on the trail they blazed. I'm blessed in that I'm able to walk that trail," Kyles said. "You can always kill the dreamer, but you absolutely cannot kill the dream."