Station residents celebrated the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a ceremony held in the Club Iwakuni dining room here Jan. 13.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The ceremony began at 11 a.m. in the Club Iwakuni ballroom where the lunch served consisted of traditional soul food such as chicken with waffles and gumbo shrimp.
Speakers for the event could be seen practicing their lines behind the podium before the event began.
“I think it’s important to recognize history, period,” said Sgt. Maj. Gerard J. Calvin, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 sergeant major. “That’s what we’re doing today. King is an eminent and integral part of history as far as the improvements in racial equality, not just in the states, but internationally.”
Station residents listened to speakers such as Calvin express the importance of King’s efforts on equality.
“It’s important to take this time to give homage and pay respect to the contributions King made,” said Calvin. “He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. As service members, we can understand what that would be like.”
After Calvin’s speech, Cpl. Dyrolyn Allen, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron aviation supply specialist, performed a tribute of the poem, “Stand Tall”.
“I hope people take away that while we are here celebrating Dr. King and his dream, his dream lives on,” said Andre L. Boyer, University of Phoenix full time faculty and retired Marine. “His dream has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled. We can’t forget about everyone who has contributed to that. We have made a lot of progress because of his dream, now we need to continue on.”
Boyer spoke to those attending about the life of King’s mother and others that who King personally.
“I’m humbled to be a guest speaker and to honor Dr. King and his legacy,” said Boyer. “I think the world owes a debt of gratitude to him. For me to be able to give a few words to commemorate him is a humbling experience.”
After his speech and presentation, Boyer was presented a plaque by Petty Officer 1st Class Philip J. Vogtman, H&HS harbor operations division harbor master.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to be a part of something of this nature,” said Vogtman. “Especially since Dr. King had such a profound influence on the country.”
Posters of King, along with some of his famous quotes, were placed throughout the room, each poster dedicated to the influence of one man and his dream that lives on through commemoration tributes such as this event.