Robins celebrates King's life, legacy

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A commemorative service honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was conducted Tuesday afternoon at the Base Chapel.

The chapel choir lifted the audience of about 100 in songs of praise during the one-hour service. A video presentation was also shown, highlighting several marches and demonstrations King participated in during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as his famous "I Have a Dream" address, delivered in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

King's nonviolent social movement to end racial inequality and discrimination inspired generations following his assassination in 1968.

As a child growing up in rural North Carolina, Minister G.P. Hendricks of First Baptist Church of Warner Robins remembers King's photos at school and church. As a young preacher, he believed that, like King, one should strive to make the world a better place for everyone.

"We are living in the reality of what was his dream," said Hendricks. "Let's all be reminded that our lives have been made better because of what Dr. King did, not just for black people, but for mankind."

Staff Sgt. Samirah Gonzalez from the 51st Combat Support Squadron shared how King's vision impacted her life.

"Knowing what he fought for encourages me to work hard in all aspects of my life, and to teach my children that it's important to never forget where they came from," she said. "With hard work, dedication and sacrifice, anything is possible.

"Without his dream and actions, we wouldn't be able to have such a diverse population in the U.S. armed forces, schools or anywhere," she added. "Nor would we have equal opportunity to achieve greatness."

Col. Mitchel Butikofer, 78th Air Base Wing commander, noted King's life of service and sacrifice. "His testament remains as compelling today as it was more than 40 years ago," said Butikofer. "King devoted his life to building the foundation of American ideals of liberty and justice for all citizens. He commands respect because he challenged ideals and conveyed a peaceful yet forceful message that has resonated into the core beliefs of every American."

Following the observance, King's message was a reminder of work still left to be done.

"His legacy for me enforces the need to treat everyone equally, and to give everyone opportunity based on their efforts, instead of their race," said Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Alexander, 78th Medical Group superintendent.

In continuing to keep King's dream alive, it was his life of service that encourages another Team Robins member.

"I'm always inspired to do more. We have to really get out and serve," said Florine Floyd, 402nd Maintenance Support Group's Contract Surveillance Management Office director. "That's one of the things I try to focus on."

Elizabeth Taylor, 402nd MXSG security specialist, agreed.

"Hearing his speech again today - every time I hear it, I get chills," said Taylor. "We should treat everyone how we want to be treated, to go through life treating people equally and to not look down on others. We're all human beings."