Attendees were encouraged to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service in their community and action against injustice during a program honoring King Jan. 16 at Naval Support Activity Philadelphia.
The recurring theme of the annual MLK program is “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off,” and the audience was called to ponder what individuals do to help others.
Richard Ellis, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support deputy commander, reminded the audience that the MLK day of service is “about asking ourselves, in the words of Dr. King, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question … What are you doing for others?’”
Keynote speaker retired Army Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender shared advice for living a life of service that pays homage to King’s life and work. She began by saying that perspective and belief in individual worth is an important start.
“I heard long ago it’s important to get up in the morning first thing and say, ‘Look out world! Here I go again,’” she said. “Because I’ve got something to give to the world that the world can’t do without.”
During her 32-year Army career, Adams-Ender served as the chief of the Army Nurse Corps and was the commanding officer of Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
As the 50th anniversary of the King’s assassination approaches April 4, Adams-Ender said that there is still work to be done to realize King’s dream of equality for all. She reminded attendees that everyone can be a part of that progress by seeing and reacting to observed inequality.
“Speak up and speak out about injustice that you witness. It takes courage to do this …” she said. “We have a saying in reference to combating terrorist activity these days, ‘If you see something, say something.’ We can use that same slogan when we see injustices being done to ourselves and to others.”
To conclude the presentation, Adams-Ender shared an essay by former law professor and attorney Michael Josephson entitled “What Will Matter.” The final line provided a summary of the message of service in honor of the holiday.
“Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident,” Josephson wrote. “It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.”
The program was organized by the DLA Troop Support Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Office and the NAVSUP Weapons System Support EEO.