Defense

January 23, 2015
 

Pentagon salutes Dr. King’s life, legacy

by Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond
DOD News, Defense Media Activity
DoD photo by Casper Manlangit
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work makes remarks during a Martin Luther King Jr. observance at the Pentagon, Jan. 15, 2015.

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense Department members gathered Jan. 15 at the Pentagon’s annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, ahead of the federal holiday.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work called King a “true, remarkable American patriot and hero” and said he was honored to help pay tribute to the late civil rights leader.

“The most fitting way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is not just to celebrate this holiday or to celebrate his achievements, but to act on his word in what we do every day in the service of our nation,” Work said.

King, who would have been 86 today, was assassinated in 1968, less than four years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of nonviolent civil disobedience in the advancement of civil rights.

A Proponent of Peace

Joining the deputy secretary to give the event’s keynote speech was Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of naval operations. In 1999, Howard became the first African-American woman to command a combatant ship in the U.S. Navy, and in 2014, she became the first woman to rise to the rank of four-star admiral.

“Not only did (King) peacefully bring society through some of the most complicated and charged social upheavals of American history, but he also fostered change in the very hearts and minds of the American people,” Howard said.

Howard called King one of the greatest leaders the country has ever seen and recounted several of his most memorable words. Quoting King, she said “if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live” and “a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a motor of consensus.”

The admiral praised King for convincing so many that people work better together and for “overwhelming the status quo” with consistent, concentrated and insistently righteous perseverance.

Inclusiveness and Restraint

“He pushed both black and white citizens to look beyond themselves, beyond their comfort zones, habits or beliefs, to something bigger and better for all of us,” Howard said. “He rose above the pain and he taught his followers to demand the moral high ground … these lessons of inclusiveness and restraint are some of the hardest concepts throughout human history.”

For that reason, the admiral explained, it is even more important for Americans to continue to observe and remember Dr. King for the things he did and the principles he stood for.

“Today, as we honor this great American,” Work said, “let us also reflect on what we can do, each and every one of us in this room, throughout the Pentagon, throughout the armed services of our great nation, to further the struggle for human freedom and dignity that Dr. King helped to lead and for which he ultimately gave his life.”

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Amy Rollins

AF uniform office designs for entire force; new modifications underway

Air Force photograph by Amy Rollins Reviewing a prototype women’s service dress uniform overblouse, left to right, at the Air Force Uniform Office, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Oh...
 
 

Welsh releases 2016 reading list

The Air Force chief of staff published his 2016 professional reading list May 13. “This year’s reading list addresses every Airman on our total force team,” said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “The profession of arms, Air Force heritage, and developing Airmen are topics that apply to all of us.” This year’s list contains books,...
 
 

Air Force changes utility allowance for privatized housing residents

The Air Force revised its utility allowance policy May 18, 2016, to ensure quality on-base housing for military families and continue to cover utility costs for the average energy consumer. For new tenants, the revised policy for the majority of residents will now be calculated using monthly meter readings instead of a five-year average with...