By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
KEYPORT, Wash. – Veterans, Sailors and DoD civilians honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a commemoration event at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Jack Murdock Auditorium in Keyport, Wash., Jan 14.
The 2014 theme, “A Day on! Not a day off!,” is meant motivate people across the nation to observe the federal holiday on Jan. 20 as a day of service to help out their surrounding community and to not take the day off.
Students attending Silverwood School in Poulsbo, Wash., kicked off the commemoration with a rendition of the national anthem.
“We appreciate the Navy giving the us the opportunity to perform,” said Bill Beaudoin, head of school, Silverwood School. “The students were also able to learn a great deal about the history of Dr. King.”
Following the National Anthem, Pastor Richmond Johnson, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, gave the invocation thanking the Navy and the Sailors stationed in the Pacific Northwest for all they do.
“We thank these men and woman who have volunteered to give up so much to defend the freedom, which makes this country so great,” said Johnson.
Dr. King was a leading proponent of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in 1964.
“In America, the movements and marches he inspired brought significant changes to the fabric of American life while, to this day, his legacy gives people around the world the courage, confidence and optimism needed to make changes within their own countries,” said Capt. David Kohnke, NUWC commanding officer.
The master of ceremonies concluded the ceremony by challenging those in attendance to give back to the community on MLK remembrance day.
“I challenge you to use your day off to make the world a better place, and not to just take the day off.”
In honor of King’s unfinished efforts, President Ronald Regan established Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1983. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday would be observed every year on the third Monday of January.