By Staff Sgt. Rauel TiradoJanuary 18, 2012
By Staff Sgt. Rauel Tirado
Third Army/ARCENT Public Affairs
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- More than 1,000 Servicemembers, Department of Defense contractors and civilians participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. 5K run/walk held by Area Support Group --Kuwait here Jan. 16.
MLK Day is a U.S. federal holiday, which is celebrated every year on the third Monday of January, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, who was born on January 15, 1929. The holiday was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and was first observed on January 20, 1986.
Participants gathered before the event at the starting line to hear Lt. Col. Juan Crockett, ASG-K command chaplain and New Orleans native, as he gave the commencement speech to mark the occasion.
"Today as Americans, we pause to commemorate the contributions of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which has added glory to our great nation," said Crockett. "In his memory, let us run for justice, run for freedom and liberty, not only for Afro-Americans but for all Americans that stand up for what is right, what is fair, and what is the truth."
After Crockett's speech, runners and walkers began the 5K course in the early morning darkness and finished the event while the sun was rising over the horizon at the zone 1 soccer field.
Crockett, one of the runners, completed the event and reflected on the morning's event.
"Our presence here today is symbolic of us living the dream as Americans and living in a world that we believe, one day, will be in peace together," said Crockett. "That same principle applies to all nations and that's one part of the reason Soldiers are overseas."
As for Sgt. First Class Chandra Davis, who volunteered to assist at the event, her reflections on the 5K were that of King's dream.
"What he stood for was significant, his dream was to see people from all walks of life get together for peace and freedom," said Davis, 54th Signal Battalion, noncommissioned officer in charge of regional network security control team and St. Petersburg, Fla. native. "Today was an excellent event, to see everyone from all nationalities get together for one common goal."
By honoring King's legacy through events like this, ASG-K in the Third Army's area of responsibility is able to bring the community together to raise esprit de corps and build stronger bonds between Servicemembers and civilians from all walks of life.