Fellow Airmen — Happy New Year.
This month we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader, a courageous patriot, and a man of integrity who espoused peaceful actions to obtain equality for African Americans in this country. Our nation’s founding fathers enshrined the idea of equal rights for all Americans in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….” Dr. King envisioned a country that truly embraced that declaration, and he courageously fought to make equal rights for all Americans a reality.
There are many examples of Dr. King’s leadership and courage, but he may be best known for his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in 1963. In that speech, he famously stated “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Dr. King reminded all of us that the character inside of a person is more important than appearance on the outside. In other remarks, Dr. King emphasized that “the time is always right to do what is right,” and he stated that “everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” His eloquent words should still guide our thoughts and actions today.
In 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent means. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing a U.S. federal holiday in honor of Dr. King. This month we remember his brave stand for what is right and the very special place that he has in our nation’s history.
As we continue to work together to deliver combat power for America, we must also continue to work together to embrace the rights and liberties of all people, to value each person’s unique contributions, and to treat every person with dignity, respect, and kindness. Our diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and origins is a strength that makes each of our organizations better. To that end, I have attached the link to the full text of his famous oratory for your reflection. https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
It is an honor serving with each of you. Your skill, dedication, and professionalism are vital to our nation’s defense. Thank you for your continued service to our great country.