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380AEW Article

Remembering MLK at ADAB

  • Published
  • By A1C D. Blake Browning
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing
A memorial walk honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held Jan. 15, 2018, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, to commemorate the life and achievements of the civil rights activist.

A dense fog prefaced the solemn ceremony as a symbol of homage for all in attendance to revere Dr. King’s accomplishments during the civil rights movements of the 60’s.

During the hour long event, service members walked around the installation ending at the dining facility where participants ate and commemorated Dr. King’s life amongst one another.

“It’s an important time to pause and reflect,” said U. S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Derek France, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “We walk as not a way of reliving the past but to be an inspiration for the future; an inspiration that all of us, regardless of race, religion, rank, or background, would show the same kind of courage in our personal and professional lives.”

France also added he noticed a few common themes shared throughout the messages Dr. King would use during his life. Themes like integrity, service, and excellence all of which embody Airmen back at home station and overseas.

Integrity - “There comes a time when one must take position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because his conscious tells him its right.”

Service - “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others.”

Excellence - “If I cannot do great things I can do small things in a great way.”

Throughout the Air Force those same themes ring through to the very core values on which the Air Force stands.

“It’s great that we have the opportunity to demonstrate and celebrate special days while deployed,” said U. S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tamara Brown, 380th Security Forces Squadron force protection escort. “Other countries don’t always observe the same days as us. Being able to host a celebration and show everyone what these observance days stand for is really a good thing.”

Many service members, including U. S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Rhaney, 380th Security Forces Squadron force protection escort, are hopeful the observance will have a positive outcome across the installation.

“I think it will open people’s eyes to the climate we have today,” said Rhaney. “Hopefully we can incorporate that knowledge into our everyday lives here on ADAB.”

The special observance committee ended the MLK observance day with closing remarks given by U. S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Naim Vaughn, 380th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, followed by a screening of the motion picture Selma.

“Service, integrity, and excellence are all characteristics that benchmark Dr. King’s legacy. They are the same attributes that propel us to do more than volunteer and contribute,” said Vaughn. “As service members these attributes are a hard-wired capacity that makes us unequivocally qualified to do more. That is who we are – it’s what we do.”