Martin Luther King observance held at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel

More than a hundred service members and civilians attended the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Day observance at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.

More than a hundred service members and civilians attended the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Day observance at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.

Story and photos by Brandon Bosworth

Staff Writer

Navy Region Hawaii held its annual Martin Luther King Day observance Jan. 17 at Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel.

Martin Luther King Day celebrates the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the influential American civil rights leader best known for his campaign to end racial segregation and promote equality in the United States.

Quartermaster 2nd Class Megan Steffy of Navy Region Hawaii served as the master-of-ceremonies. She introduced a variety of film clips about King and his legacy.

The first clip was of King’s controversial TV appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show.” Filmed at the height of the Vietnam War, King spoke of peace and defended his opposition to the war, which he considered unjust.

The second clip was from April 4, 1968, the day King was assassinated. It showed Walter Cronkite announcing the news of King’s death to the nation.

The final clip was of King’s funeral. At the funeral, a recording of his final sermon was played. In it, he spoke of his own death and how he wanted to be remembered.

Rear Adm. Frank Ponds was the keynote speaker at the Jan. 17 Navy Region Hawaii Martin Luther King Day observance.

Rear Adm. Frank Ponds was the keynote speaker at the Jan. 17 Navy Region Hawaii Martin Luther King Day observance.

Looking out at the diverse faces in the audience, Steffy said, “Without Dr. King, we would not all be sitting here together: whites with blacks, Hispanics with Asians.”

Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific was the keynote speaker at the observance. In a very personal speech, he spoke of honoring

King as a patriarch, a father, and a husband.

“Most of all, I want to honor him as a man,” Ponds said. “He asked himself ‘Why should I take joy in celebrating my life when others are suffering in their own lives?’ He contemplated this and chose to act…. The very essence of King’s legacy is his life of service and sacrifice.”

Pond’s also highlighted what the military can learn from King. “Members the armed forces must continue to combine the strength of compassion and the courage of compromise,” he said.

In honor of King’s work, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday would be observed every year on the third Monday of January. Congress passed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and Service Act, Aug. 23, 1994 designating the King Holiday as a day of volunteer service. The first observance was held Jan. 15, 1986, the anniversary of King’s birthday.

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Category: News