Eglin celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration theme of “Remember!  Celebrate! Act!  A Day On, Not a Day Off!” was present during the celebration at Eglin Jan. 11.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Aubrey Harvey, Breeze Dining Facility food services officer; and Nyron Alexander, 96th Force Support Squadron communications flight chief, were the guest speakers.

Harvey grew up in Atlanta and was a childhood friend of Dexter King, Dr. King’s third child.  Throughout his speech, Harvey referred to Dr. King as “Dexter’s Dad.”

Later, Harvey’s family moved from Atlanta.  He would return from time to time to visit relatives, but he seldom saw Dexter.  As Harvey grew older, it became clearer who Dexter’s Dad was.

“I began to realize the man I knew as Dexter’s Dad, and who my parents referred to only as ‘Reverend’ was the man, who eloquently spoke about a dream that continues to resonate with people around the world to this day,” Harvey said.

His words articulated the aspirations and dreams of millions of people who fight for equality and justice, Harvey said. 

“Dexter’s Dad emphasized the importance of community, peace and love,” Harvey said.  “His passion captivated the world and has inspired generations since.”

Harvey said he understood that Dexter’s Dad dreamt of a day when the two childhood friends would be judged by the content of our character, not by the color of their skin.  He added that he and his family are walking Dr. King’s dream.

While reflecting on societal progress in the years after Dr. King’s death, Alexander encouraged the attendees to continue advancing the civil rights leader’s message. 

“The advancements of technology and social media platforms have made you the leaders in social change,” he told the attendees.  “In real time, you are cultivating social change.  You are encouraging people of all backgrounds to stand up for social change.”

In his closing remarks, Col. Thomas Tauer, 96th Test Wing deputy commander, said Dr. King was a visionary who brought forth a message that has never been more relevant. 

“We are living in a time of great change,” he said. 

Tauer ended with a quote from Dr. King’s lecture at the University of Oslo following his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize Dec.  11, 1964.

"I am only too well aware of the human weaknesses and failures which exist, the doubts about the efficacy of nonviolence, and the open advocacy of violence by some,” Dr. King said.  “But I am still convinced that nonviolence is both the most practically sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice."