13th SC(E) hosts MLK observance

Story by Spc. Fabian Ortega
13th SC(E) Public Affairs Office
Photos by Spc. Fabian Ortega

FORT HOOD, Texas — The 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosted a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observance at the Phantom Warrior Center here Jan. 23.

The observance included photos of King, a poetry reading by the 1st Medical Brigade Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin B. Stuart and guest speaker, Frank D. Jackson, the Mayor for the City of Prairie View.

Stuart recited two poems titled, Once a King and Standing Tall. Stuart, an avid poetry reader, wrote the poems in honor of King.

“Thinking about peace and love…with children hand in hand… we will allow freedom to ring from every village and every heaven, every street in every city. In this place, Fort Hood, Texas, 23 January, 2008, Doctor King stands strong, stands proud and stands tall,” Stuart recited.

Following Stuart’s poetry reading the Prairie View mayor was introduced.

Jackson’s speech highlighted some of Dr. Martin Luther King's views on nonconformity and racial equality.

“I am extremely honored and deeply humbled to come and say a few words about such a distinguished American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr ,” said Jackson in his opening remarks.

To understand Dr. King, you must first understand history, said Jackson.

“We’ve been a country, that’s been a beacon for others. We’ve learned to overcome these impulses of hatred. I commend you for leading the way and making this change, because hopefully in the very near future, our children and our children’s, children, won’t have to go through this madness, it will be something they just talk about in the history books, said Jackson.

“We have to respect our differences and understand that we are all human beings, even though we come from different back grounds,” Jackson said. “I think human kind is evolving to a point where we are thinking globally, thinking worldly and we’re getting rid of political differences. Race, to me, is more political than it is biological. This is one humanity, that’s been the message” said Jackson.

We’ve got to keep spreading the message of Dr. King, so that nobody can ever make you feel less than you are and what you are, he said.

Until the 80’s, controversy surrounded the idea of a Martin Luther King Day. Congressmen and citizens petitioned the President to make January 15, Martin Luther King’s birthday, a federal legal holiday. Finally, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federal holiday commemorating King’s birthday.

Jan. 20, 1986, in cities and towns across the country people celebrated the first official Martin Luther King Day, the only federal holiday commemorating an African-American.

“I think each of us in here should be proud to be part of an organization, our Army, that takes pride and shares the vision (of Dr. King),” said Col. Paul. L. Wentz commanding officer of the 13th SC(E).

“We’re not perfect, we all know that, but we continue to strive for it and I think that’s what Doctor King did as well,” Wentz said. “Our Army values are a large part of why we have the ability to overcome some the prejudices we all have. I want to thank all of you for living the Army values and serving your country,” Wentz said.


Mayor Frank D Jackson
Mayor Frank D Jackson