Story and photos by Karl Weisel
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office
“Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. That is the interrelated structure of reality.”
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
During his lifetime Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood as a towering role model for doing what’s right in the face of discrimination, cruel injustice and a staggering silent majority.
After the civil rights leader was cut down by an assassin’s bullet in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tenn., he left behind pages and pages of inspired eloquence that remain a guide for future generations to overcome differences and to seek solutions to life’s challenges.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was uplifted by the energy and passion of his fellow citizens and praised the glory of America and democratic ideals that made the rights of speech, protest and assembly possible,” said U.S. Army Europe Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Sean J. Rice.
The guest speaker at the fourth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative march on Clay Kaserne, hosted by the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, Rice thanked the roughly 100 Soldiers, civilians and family members who marched in the sub-freezing temperatures Jan. 17 and participated in the ensuing observance at the Tony Bass Fitness Center.
“Thank you all for being lighthouses with this wonderful community,” Rice said. “When troubled waters occur, you bring excitement and hope to those in need.”
Taking the time to remember the vision and legacy of Dr. King through the national observance is an important part of helping “energize and sustain us for the journeys ahead,” Rice said.
“All of us are a beautifully diverse crowd reflecting the many threads that weave together to create the fabric of nations and ideas,” he added.
On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Rice said King’s ideas remain as important today as they were when first voiced.
Reflecting the celebration’s theme, “Remember, celebrate, act — a day on, not a day off,” the speaker said Dr. King’s words still serve as a guide for dealing with the most critical issues of the day. Standing up for what’s right at personal risk, serving one’s community and speaking out against wrong are as important today as they were during the civil rights movement’s heyday. He asked listeners to not rest until Dr. King’s “dream” becomes a reality for everyone.
In addition to the march and guest speaker, the Wiesbaden observance also featured several song selections by local community members, readings of Dr. King’s speeches and an exhibit of posters created by Hainerberg Elementary School students.
The following Hainerberg students were honored as poster contest winners: Cassidy Hackenburg (first grade), Brooke Issler (second grade), Daliah Torres (third grade), Sabina Wamulumba (fourth grade) and Nina Oldenettal (fifth grade).