By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephanie Smith
YOKOSUKA, Japan — The crew aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) took time to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a ceremony held by the forward-deployed aircraft carrier’s Multinational Heritage Committee Jan. 22.
Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer, addressed those in attendance about the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings.
“It is important that we pause today to remember the great efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that culminated in the Civil Rights Act, passed by Congress in 1964,” said Fenton. “When I look at Dr. Kings’ path towards a civil rights leader, I am struck by what he accomplished for the American people in his short lifetime.”
During the ceremony, George Washington Sailors spoke about the influence of King and the enduring effect he has had on the integration of American society.
Key speaker, Bishop Charles A. Hall, reviewed a brief history of the United States of America, encouraging Sailors to hold closely to the principles our country was founded upon.
“During Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech, there is one quote that I think rings true for Sailors in Japan today,” said Hall. “‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character’. I urge you to conduct yourselves in such a way that it is by the content of your good character that you are judged as an ambassador of America.”
Master of Ceremonies, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marissa Beasley, from Houston, left Sailors with words of thankfulness for Dr. Martin Luther Kings’ efforts.
“Looking back on my childhood, I was fortunate to have never experienced the kind of racism and inequality that my grand-parents or great-grand-parents endured. Because of great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am capable of obtaining an equal education, equal access to support from my government, and even the equal opportunity to serve my government. As we are gathered here today, I am confident that the courage of one man provided the path for freedom and equality for all.”
The ceremony was concluded with a cake cutting between the ship’s gospel choir, Bishop Hall, and Capt. Fenton.