By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJanuary 19, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Soldiers, Family members and members of the local community gathered on Fort Rucker to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and ask "life's most persistent and urgent question: What are you doing for others?"
That question was the continuous theme of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program at the post theater Jan. 12.
The program was held to celebrate the life of King, and remember the teachings and role that he played to promote equality for all.
Dr. W. Charles Lewis, founder and senior pastor of Dothan Community Church and guest speaker, spoke of the effect that King's teachings had on him throughout his life and how the question that King asked influenced him to help others.
"As a young boy, I listened to many of King's speeches and adopted some of his philosophies," he said. "One speech in particular had a profound effect on me and actually influenced my outlook on life."
The speech that Lewis was referring was King's, "Remaining awake through a great revolution."
"The particular part of that speech that captured my attention was when King said, 'we cannot aim merely to be good negro teachers, good negro doctors, good negro ministers and good negro skilled laborers. If you are merely seeking to do a good negro job, then you have already failed at your matriculation examination for entrance into the university of integration,'" he said. "I never got over that, and I'm glad that I didn't."
Lewis also spoke of the importance of asking the question, "What are you doing for others?" and the importance of the word 'do.'
"That short two-letter word solicits our involvement," he said. "It beckons us to action -- it calls us from an inactive status and invites us to enlist into active service.
"Dr. King was more than qualified to ask the question, but he needed no justification," said Lewis. "His life justified him; he championed the cause of others, gave leadership to a movement, spoke to the masses delineating his philosophy of non-violent social change and spoke to the moral conscience of the nation. He did all this for the sake of others.
"In our present economical and social spiritual climate, we must move past our all-consuming preoccupation with, 'me, myself and I,' and we must give time and attention to him and to her -- to them and to they," he said. "We must rise to the broader concerns of all humanity."
Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander, also spoke of King's teachings of selflessness.
"Today we celebrate a man of action who put his life on the line for freedom and justice," he said. "[King] braved the threats of jail and beatings, and ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans."
Those that attended the celebration also heard musical selections from the first grade choir of Fort Rucker Primary School and saw performances by the Destiny Church Dothan praise dancers.
Muskopf thanked Lewis and presented him with a commemorative plaque as a show of appreciation for his service, and speaking at the celebration.
"As we remember King and celebrate his legacy," said Muskopf, "we also recognize the change that he set in motion that continues to this day. Dr. King moved a nation, and we are a better, stronger and [a more free] America as a result."