By Jeremy Wise, Army Flier StaffFebruary 10, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With the tunes of spirituals and the smells of home-style cuisine filling the air, community members kicked off Fort Rucker's African American/Black History Month Celebration Feb. 4 at the Fort Rucker Post Exchange.
Choir and step performances from Daleville High School's Multicultural Club and Tuskegee University's Golden Voices entertained patrons at the PX food court. Many of the songs were religious.
"This is what the African-American community is about. The majority is religious, and the tunes are religious," said Staff Sgt. Jack Sturgill, the 110th Aviation Brigade equal opportunity adviser and event organizer.
Sturgill added that the Daleville High and Tuskegee groups have volunteered to perform for community members numerous times in the past.
Those in attendance also dined on cuisine samples from local restaurants.
Post officials said celebrating different cultures is very important in the military setting.
This is an opportunity to showcase talent from different backgrounds," said Justin Mitchell, deputy garrison commander. "There's a lot of talent in many cultures, as we've seen here. As the military is the ultimate melting pot, the blend of many cultures ... is not lost by doing things like this."
The ceremony also highlighted historical contributions of African Americans with displays.
"It's a good thing for Americans to remember history, from leaders to inventors," Mitchell said.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Keayana Minus, 23rd Flying Training Squadron Aviation resource manager, said the celebration gave her a chance to reflect on the accomplishments and sacrifices made by African Americans.
"A lot of times we get caught up in work and home. We forget where we came from," she said. "We forget to give credit to those who deserve it."
Marianna, Fla.'s Frank Dickens, a disabled Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War, came to Fort Rucker to watch his son, Spc. Byron Dickens, graduate from air traffic control school. He also attended the celebration while here.
"I think it's important to know our heritage," he said. "So many have served in the military."