A Day On, Not a Day Off
By Bill Mesta, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
Military Sealift Command service members and civilian shore support personnel gathered on board Naval Station Norfolk to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King during a special observance held at Ely Hall, Jan. 17.
The celebration was hosted by MSC’s Equal Employment Opportunity program and was held to recognize Dr. King’s efforts in the struggle against racial inequality.
The special observance included the reading of the Presidential Proclamation by MSC Teammate Willie Allen.
“The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dedicated his life to a vision: that all Americans would live free from injustice and enjoy equal opportunity as children of God,” the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Presidential Proclamation 2018 read. “His strong, peaceful, and lifelong crusade against segregation and discrimination brought our Nation closer to the founding ideals set forth in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Today, as we come together to honor Dr. King, we know that America is stronger, more just, and more free because of his life and work.”
Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s per-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.
“The theme for this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King’s observance is ‘remember, celebrate, act; a day on, not a day off,” said Keynote Speaker Barbara Hamm Lee, the executive producer and host of WHRO’s ‘Another View’. “As we take the time to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, I would like everyone to turn inward and take a look at ourselves, and how interactions between people will make the biggest difference in our world. Because if we don’t all learn how to get along with each other, then the acts we perform, such as volunteering in the community, become ‘acts’ as opposed to real efforts.”
This year’s theme calls upon the American people to engage in public service and promote peaceful social change.
“The two biggest social issues which Dr. King focused on were racial equality and poverty,” according to Lee. “Dr. King said, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character’.”
Lee charged to audience to, “perform a personal ‘deep-dive’ inside yourself and think about what you need to do to ensure that your character is such that you are making for a better world.”
Each year, Americans across the country come together on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. The holiday represents the opportunity to start the year off right by making a positive impact on the community.
“In paying tribute to Dr. King, we are reminded that the duty lies with each of us to fulfill the vision of his life’s work,” According to the Presidential proclamation. “Let us use our time, talents, and resources to give back to our communities and help those less fortunate than us.”