Paying respects to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Vogelweh Gospel Choir prepare to sing at a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration Jan. 13 on Ramstein. Dr. King grew further confidence in his public speaking ability through choir, something his mother encouraged him to do throughout his younger years.

Members from around the KMC came together to pay respects to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a remembrance in his name Jan. 13 on Ramstein.

The chapel-led event honored the late Dr. King for his heroic actions in leading the civil rights movement of the 20th century.

Those who attended were called upon to understand the impact he had on modern society and the inspiration he gives to many people across the U.S. today.

The event saw several generations of people attend. Those in attendance witnessed personal stories from those who lived during the civil rights movement and from today’s youth, represented by those who are still in high school. The event also included gospel singing and prayer.

It was a great experience because of the variety, said Senior Master Sgt. Shuntesia Dupree, 86th Airlift Wing safety superintendent.

“Our four guest speakers were chosen based off of their personal experiences and how Dr. King has made a difference in their lives,” Dupree said. “By having the different generations at the event, we hope his legacy would continue to carry on. We wanted our guests to know that although Dr. King has passed, his efforts are still living and will never be forgotten.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Dr. King. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is near his birthday, Jan. 15.

It marks a day where millions of Americans can reflect on a legacy, one that has deeply touched the lives of many, says Alicia Cabrera, gospel service parish coordinator.

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day that is set aside to rejoice in how far we have come as a world and to be empowered to keep striving for more equality for all,” Cabrera said. “His legacy assisted in providing the freedom for me to be here. My mother and my father are different races and will celebrate their 36 wedding anniversary this November. This was made possible because of the way being paved by Martin Luther King Jr.”

Dr. King became instrumental in the civil rights movement and was a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, one of six groups that led the March on Washington in 1963, where he gave one of the most iconic speeches in the 20th century, “I Have a Dream.”

About 15 years after his death, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. This year, Dr. King would have been 88.