Fort Stewart celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday with a special observance held at Club Stewart’s main ballroom.
Before the event began, guest speaker Sen. Lester G. Jackson III responded to a question about why it’s important to remember and honor the work of Dr. King.
“We need to remember our past and try to make this world a better place for ourselves and for our children,” said Jackson, a Savannah family dentist who was elected to the state senate in 2008 after serving 10 years in the state House of Representatives.
The service began with the national anthem, sung by Master Sgt. Q.P. Bean of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Bean was followed by an invocation given by 4th IBCT Chaplain (Maj.) David Trogdon and the Fort Stewart Gospel Service Choir singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Soldiers and family members attending the program watched a video of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963. Afterwards, the choir sang “Let the Church say Amen.”
Col. Kimo C. Gallahue, commander of the 4th IBCT, introduced Jackson, whom he noted was a seven-year Navy veteran, a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a charter member of the Savannah chapter of the 100 Black Men and member of the American Legion, Post 500.
Jackson first thanked Fort Stewart leaders, including Gallahue and Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of the 3rd Infantry and Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield for inviting him to speak. He said he’d had a phone conversation with his father, a former Army veteran, about the 3rd ID. His father’s humorous analogy was, “If the world was a BBQ pit, the 3rd ID would be the sauce.” He went on to say that in peacetime, the 3rd ID is a sweet sauce, but when things get bad and we need our military’s best, the 3rd ID is a hot sauce.
Jackson’s first remarks about Dr. King were to remind everyone that King was a Georgia native.
“Let us remember, let us celebrate and let us act on the teachings of this great man,” Jackson said, referring to Dr. King as a “king” of a man.
Jackson then told the story of the fall of Jericho in Joshua 6, in which God told Joshua to have his army march around the city for seven days, and then on the seventh day, after they completed their march, they were to shout when they heard the sound of the trumpet. When they did, the walls of the city fell inward to the ground. Jackson then compared the faith of Joshua to that of Dr. King, whom he credited with bringing down the walls of injustice.
“Dr. King used to say, ‘Hoe the row that you know,’” Jackson said, smiling. “I realize a lot of you who aren’t from south Georgia may not understand what that means, but it simply means do what you know how to do.”
He advised those who don’t consider themselves great orators could still teach a Sunday school class. Everyone can do something to live the dream Dr. King talked about, he said.
“Let us re-commit to Dr. King’s dream,” he said in concluding. “The U.S. Armed Forces are champions of freedom around the world. Let’s all commit to being soldiers of justice.”
Following his remarks, Jackson was presented an award representing the gratitude of the Fort Stewart by Col. Gallahue and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Barnes, 4th IBCT command sergeant major. Awards were also presented to Bean and the Gospel Service Choir.
The 4th IBCT sponsored the event.