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380AEW Article

ADAB Celebrates MLK Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mya M. Crosby
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The men and women assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, coming from all walks of life and backgrounds, celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 21.

The federal holiday was first started by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and was first celebrated in 1986. For 33 years, the nation has celebrated King’s birthday while honoring his legacy within the civil rights movement.

While being in a deployed environment, the 380th AEW Airmen made time to commemorate the late civil rights activist who looked to peaceful resistance in response to racial injustice in the country nearly 65 years ago.

“We’re all away from family, working hard, making sure the mission never stops,” said Staff Sgt. Jahairy Casado, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron operations manager and Special Observance Committee president. “It’s nice to come together and do something together as an ADAB family, regardless of Air Force Specialty Codes or squadrons. 5K runs happen often, but usually after they’re over, we all just go on about our days. Signing the t-wall after today’s run leaves a visual legacy that we all came together to run in remembrance of Dr. King.”

Airmen have been impacted by MLK Day and the significant work and contributions he left behind. During a visit to Cornell College, Iowa Dr. King said in a speech:

“People fail to get along because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

“This quote moves me because of its simplicity, and its truth,” said Staff Sgt. Alexandra Counts, 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron construction contracting officer. “We all come from different backgrounds and upbringings; but at the end of the day we're all human. We're all trying to ultimately achieve similar goals. I interpret Dr. King's quote as saying that if we truly communicated with one another, took that initiative to carefully listen to each other; that perhaps we'd realize how similar we really are. We'd see that we're not that scary after all, and have more similarities than differences.”

The most important similarity that everyone shares here at ADAB is supporting the mission, regardless of their diverse backgrounds.

“Before I joined the military, it was just another day off, a chance to go out of town for the long weekend,” Casado said. “Now that I’m part of something bigger, to include the Special Observance Committee, I realize it’s about honoring Dr. King and the contributions he made to ensure fairness and equality. Someone said something at one of our SOC meetings recently- she said, ’We are the dream,’ and that stuck with me. Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is well-known but does anyone ever just stop to take a look around? Though the world is far from perfect, when we come in unison, I can’t help but think to myself that this is what Dr. King had in mind.”