FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- This year marks 50 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the historic and immortal "I Have a Dream" speech. Today, we remember Martin Luther King Jr. in the pantheon of our greatest heroes -- a pioneer, visionary and activist. His actions of selfless service are unparalleled in our nation's history. We celebrate his birthday and legacy, because his dream, his vision and his commitment made our country a place in which we all can take pride.

Jan. 21 is not a day off, but a day on to pay reverence to the dream that he made possible -- not just for African-Americans, but for all Americans. To that end, I encourage everyone to participate in at least one community-based activity to honor his service to our great nation and way of life.

Our Equal Opportunity Office will host a luncheon on Friday, Jan. 25, 11:30 a.m. at the Solomon Center to celebrate his life and legacy. The guest speaker is a great friend of mine, Brig. Gen. Barrye Price, Director of Human Resources Policy, Deputy Chief of Staff G-1, The Pentagon. Brig. Gen. Price is a prolific speaker and has studied Martin Luther King Jr. for several years -- his presentation will be memorable and educational. Our luncheon is a great opportunity for Fort Jackson to remember and celebrate Dr. King's life's work. I also encourage you to channel the spirit of Dr. King during this period by helping others.

As many of you know, his dream was a society established and powered by equality, justice, dignity, freedom and strength, which could only come from a truly united nation. He remained true to the message of non-violence at a time when the world appeared to be on the brink of self-annihilation.

It has been said that the night before he was killed, while tornado warnings wailed outside, he spoke of the threats awaiting him from local citizens of Memphis, Tenn. Yet he found a way to press forward through his apprehensions to speak, to a crowd that would invigorate a new generation of American citizens.

Every day we should do the same. Let's dig deep and find ways to push ourselves in spite of the challenges that may appear ahead. The mental fortitude of this one man to go forward with this monumental moment in the nation's history should be an example for us as Soldiers, Civilians and Families to always have a positive attitude, work together as a team, treat people with dignity and respect, be disciplined to do the harder right over the easier wrong, to provide the best training possible and have stellar character.

He once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" Your service today will leave behind a legacy for others to remember. If your efforts are genuine and of good standard I am sure that a positive reputation can supersede your life. We have a golden opportunity to do this at Fort Jackson as we train America's Sons and Daughters every day.

Leave behind a legacy that will improve the lives of others and ensure the freedoms we enjoy every day. Every Fort Jackson Team Member/Mate is in position to do so.

For example, in the most recent months we have started and completed both short- and long-term improvement projects in medical care, housing and child care facilities that will last for our future Fort Jackson community and surrounding cities. We've also greatly improved training and leader development across the entire post. I know we will continue down a path that will improve our quality of life and Army readiness for our future.

Team Jackson, let's continue to make progress and generate a legacy that will be appreciated, heard of by many and disputed by none because of our constant effort to improve the lives of those around us as we commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others who made his dream reality.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- remember -- make it a day on, not a day off!

Victory Starts Here and Army Strong!

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