Soldiers and civilians of all cultural, religious and racial backgrounds assembled to remember the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a ceremony hosted by the Sergeants Major Academy and Class 61 on East Fort Bliss on Jan. 13.

Sergeants Major Ac 175This event was important because of what King stood for, said Sgt. 1st Class Dean Achord, equal opportunity adviser for the Sergeants Major Academy.

"A lot of people do not have as deep of an understanding of Dr. King's message. If I can help at least one person in the audience develop an appreciation for Dr. King's words, they can instruct others, which is what this observance is all about," he said.

The technicolor audience displayed the diversity that King died for.

"Today's event is important to me and everyone who loves freedom," said Rwandan Sgt. Maj. Joshua Munyadinda, a student at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. "Martin Luther King was a freedom fighter who fought for the rights of everyone, and that is very important to me."

King is remembered for being a powerful leader in the struggle for the advancement of civil rights and for advocating nonviolent protests in communities where inequality was the predominant mode of thinking.

During the 11 years from 1957 to 1968, King spoke around the world, over 2,500 times, to spread a message of peace and equality for all people.

King is best remembered for his "I Have a Dream" speech, given in Washington D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, before a crowd of over 250,000.

The Fort Bliss ceremony began with an invocation by Chaplain (Maj.) Anthony Horton, followed by John Lennon's "Imagine" performed by Master Sgt. Feliece Y. Murrell, of academy's Class 61.

Motivational speaker Stephon Ferguson followed the musical performance with a powerful rendition of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, reminding the audience of the passion behind the famous address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The theme for the celebration was "Remember, celebrate, act. A day on, not a day off."

Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, Fort Bliss commanding general, emphasized this theme while speaking to the audience before the closing of the ceremony.

"Each of us should make a promise to make a difference," he said. "Make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others."

For more about Martin Luther King Jr., read his bio:

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MLK Performer - Motivational Speaker - Gospel Comedian