Darmstadt ceremony recalls Dr. King's vision
January 14, 2005
DARMSTADT, Germany — In his mind’s eye, the scene in front of the Escape club outside the gates of Cambrai-Fritsch Casern on Wednesday evening has played out before.
A little black boy was standing in front of a group of children of different races, leading them in a speech. Then a little white girl took over, laughing and bumping into the young Hispanic girl next to her. The children were comfortable together, acting almost like brothers and sisters.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of this scene, and military communities throughout Europe are helping to play it out.
Each year, Americans remember King’s legacy of tolerance, peace and equality on the third Monday of January. Many installations, like the one in Darmstadt, are celebrating early to remind people that though it is a holiday, it is “A day on, not a day off,” as the theme says.
To honor Darmstadt community members who have exemplified King’s vision throughout the year, “Salute to Greatness” awards and trophies were given out at the club.
Some people were recognized for volunteer work, others for being leaders, and still others for making America’s future brighter.
Staff Sgt. Lavert Mitchell Jr., of Company C, 127th Field Artillery out of Babenhausen, said his leadership award was the most meaningful honor he had ever received.
“This has given me the motivation to go out and do bigger and better things,” he said.
Dorothy Wilson, pastor of Atterbury Chapel, a multicultural Christian church in Frankfurt, led a gospel choir and then spoke of King’s push for community service.
Master Sgt. Shanna L. Travis, the community Equal Opportunity adviser, said she hoped to highlight new aspects of King with his “The Drum Major Instinct” speech. King gave the speech Feb. 9, 1968, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
“People get caught up in the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but Dr. King was so much more than a civil rights leader. He has often been called one of America’s great freedom fighters. He wanted equality for everyone,” she said.