MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Aug. 28, 1963, “I Have a Dream” speech.
Service members and civilians from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego gathered Jan. 18 at the depot theater to partake in an observance of the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event began with a prayer from Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Ringo, Headquarters and Service Battalion chaplain. Brig. Gen. Angie Salinas, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the Western Recruiting Region, then compared King’s work to the United States military’s mission.
The general said the military also fights for the freedom and equality of the people and the betterment of the country, just like King. She also said that both have made tremendous sacrifices that everyone should reflect on and honor.
“A Time for Justice,” a film that won an Academy Award for best short documentary,
was shown illustrating the struggle and heroism of the Civil Rights movement through historic news footage.
“The video was extremely informative,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Aguirre, who narrated the observance. “I was surprised to see how violent people could be toward one another. Sometimes it was difficult to watch, and the people’s actions made me angry, but I think that was the emotion it was trying to get across.”
According to Lt. Col. Ira Cheatham, Support Battalion commanding officer, the film captured how important King’s work is to the history of America. He said it was amazing that despite all the violence and hatred that was directed toward African Americans, King successfully protested peacefully.
It is important that he be remembered because his tenacity influenced the governdayment and many laws were passed that affected not only African Americans, but other minorities and women as well, said Aguirre.
“I believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an influential leader because he practiced what we Marines call our core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Scrofne, equal opportunity advisor for Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the Western Recruiting Region “He was mindful of the privilege in serving his fellow Americans and he had values that gave him the moral and mental strength to do what is right. With confidence and resolution, he strove to improve the quality of people’s lives despite the adversity he faced from day to day.”
Near the end of the observance, a powerful voice filled the air as Lewis Sheffield, lead human resources assistant at the Consolidated Personnel Administration Center, recited King’s famous, “I Have a Dream” speech.
The audience closed their eyes and heard the passion and intensity in his voice he emulated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said Cheatham, a native of Fayetteville, N.C. “The performance was outstanding because Sheffield made it obvious he believed in every word he was saying and he believed in the cause for which King fought.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. stood for equal rights for all people,” said Sheffield, a native of Jacksonville, Fla. “If it wasn’t for him and the many others that fought for equality, I would not have had the opportunities to do what I have with my life, like being a Marine.”
Capt. David Cote, H&S Battalion’s equal opportunity advisor, felt Sheffield had a gift. He said it was an example of how Marines, past and present, empower other Marines.
“The most significant part of the event was that depot personnel of all races, ethnicities and national origins participated in observing and honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to American society and the world,” said Scrofne.