PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ushered America into an era of racial inclusion, desegregation and equal rights with his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, speakers said Jan. 23, 2019, during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Luncheon on Peterson Air Force Base.
This year’s theme was “Remember, Celebrate, Act,” as Airmen gathered in The Club ballroom to commemorate King’s life and tireless fight for freedom, which he carried on until his death by an assassin’s bullet April 4, 1968, at a Memphis, Tenn. hotel.
“As we celebrate his birthday and remember Dr. King, we are going to continue to honor his legacy,” said Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing vice commander.
Members of the military are familiar with answering a call higher than themselves, and King lived out that same selflessness, servanthood and leadership in his pursuit of racial equality, Johnson said.
“In the military, we signed up to ensure that all Americans have the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, just like he pursued,” Johnson said. “We are all going to stay on the high plane of dignity and discipline, just like he told us to.”
Guest speaker Carlos Wade, 21st Force Support Squadron senior youth sports director, began his speech with a simple question.
“I ask you guys today, ‘Are we still dreaming?’” Wade said. “And if we are dreaming, what are we dreaming about?”
Wade emphasized equality and accountability as he talked about applying King’s principles to today’s society. As other pushes for equality gain steam – such as the #MeToo movement and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community – it is important not to lose sight of King’s message, Wade said.
“I throw that accountability to each and every one of you,” Wade said. “You guys are going to hear that over and over again, because a lot of times I feel there’s folks on the sideline watching things happen.”
King’s ultimate goal was to see people of all races, backgrounds and creeds be able to sit together and communicate – a goal everyone on Peterson AFB must help achieve, Wade said.
“I don’t ask you to like who I am. I don’t ask you to like what I do, or who I’m married to, or who my partner is,” Wade said. “All I ask of you is just respect me. I think if Martin was alive today, he would want the same thing.”
The MLK Observance Luncheon kicked off the Black Heritage Committee’s annual Black History Month celebration. A reading at the Peterson AFB Child Development Center is scheduled for Feb. 4-7, 2019, followed by the Deployed Spouses Dinner Feb. 21, 2019, and a Black History Month play Feb. 27, 2019.