Col. Nello Tortora, Huntsville Center commander, opened the program by sharing how Dr. King encouraged Americans to come together to serve humanity.
"Dr. King realized that service is the great equalizer among us all," Tortora said. "Through unity and purpose within our organization we can make great things happen. Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
Guest speaker Dr. O. Wendell Davis, a local community activist and pastor of the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, focused on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, citing that many have made a dream of their own and are merely interpreting Dr. King's dream.
"Dr. King and many others during the Civil Rights Movement dreamed dreams, but they were not personal and selfish dreams," Davis said. "They dreamed an all-inclusive dream that helped all humankind. They dreamed of a nation that provides all the basic necessities for everyone.. Many of you have forgotten, but perhaps by posing this question, you will remember: What is the dream?"
Davis also challenged everyone in the audience to take a few steps forward to make their own dreams come true.
All Huntsville Center employees were encouraged to attend the program, said Angela Morton, chief of the Equal Opportunity Office at the Huntsville Center. Morton oversees the Commander's Special Emphasis Program which was responsible for the program.
Morton thanked everyone for helping to make this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration a success.
The Voices of Triumph Gospel Ministries from Oakwood University sang "Truly Free," "Manifest" and a "Great is thy Faithfulness and For Every Mountain" medley during the celebration. Huntsville Center's Lillian Fox sang the National Anthem, and Pat Haas provided the invocation.
Victor Taylor, chief of the Safety Office at Huntsville Center said he enjoyed the program, especially the guest speaker and choir. The songs rendered by Voices of Triumph reached him, and Dr. Davis really inspired him.
"I liked the way the guest speaker took a different approach to using Dr. King's speeches," Taylor said. "He didn't just use quotations from his 'I Have a Dream' speech and paraphrase, like most speakers do. He took the message from the speech and brought it to us on a personal level so that we can implement it within our own lives. He gave us something we can really use."