The American Dream: 17 TRW Hosts Event in Honor of MLK

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyrell Hall
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

In his famous speech delivered in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “I have a dream,” became the rallying cry of the civil rights movement. The 17th Training Wing celebrated the legacy of Dr. King during an event on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 13.

The third Monday of January observes Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday celebrated every year since 1986 which emphasizes Dr. King’s message and the impact created by the life of the doctor himself.

The event included remarks from Col. Matthew Reilman, 17th TRW commander. Chief Master Sgt. Lauren Brock, 17th Medical Group senior enlisted leader, delivered the keynote address.

During the event, Col. Reilman spoke about how Dr. King’s dream has helped members cultivate a need to welcome people, accept their ideas, and implement the various innovations of people from all walks of life.

“In an organization like the 17th Training Wing that is represented by so many unique and diverse background, our exceptional team here really does portray the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech,” said Reilman. “People are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Dr. King’s life work push toward a father where the freedoms and rights of all people from all walks of life and spiritual beliefs are protected. And nowhere is this more clearly seen than our armed forces.”

During the MLK observance day, members are reminded to reflect on King’s vision of unity and equality. King spoke to that dream at the National Mall, envisioning a day where people are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. At the time, his vision was unfathomable in a divided country.

Today, Dr. King’s dream is alive and thriving in U.S. culture, specifically seen through the diversity and inclusion programs the Department of Defense celebrate today.

“Our military truly represents the nation it defends, and we are here to help achieve Dr. King’s dream across all the services,” said Reilman. “No matter the color of your skin, where you’re from, we all work together to defend our nation. We draw our strength from the diversity of people, they are what keeps us on top and ahead of our competitors around the world.”

One person can make a difference, it doesn’t take being an elected official or coming with a prestigious background. Any person with a dream or purpose can make a significant impact.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed this, and expressed his thoughts in a bold manner. This is evident in his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered at the march on Washington.

Dr. King motivated millions with his words as he protested inequality. So, what does this 60-year-old lesson offer our warfighters today?  Leaders are called to affect change and members are called to be the change, fighting for equality either through communication or through action.

Chief Brock emphasized King’s dream of equality and his influence in shifting people’s perceptions of each other for the better.

“This is a very special day, and one that transcends across all installations, today we stand on the shoulders of a giant,” said Brock. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement, he opened a door for greater movements and continuous progress to be made.”