News: Marines, sailors celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. legacy
Story by Pfc. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines and sailors with 2nd Marine Logistics Group celebrated the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during a prayer breakfast at a mess hall here, Jan. 17.
The group’s command hosted the breakfast to inspire and challenge servicemembers to act out the principles shared by King and the military.
“He is an outstanding example of leadership and compassion,” said Capt. James S. Mackin, the commanding officer of Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG. “He’s a prime example of courage, leadership and the ability to know what’s right and had the ability to bring that into fruition.”
Enlisted personnel and the group’s senior leadership, to include Brig. Gen. Edward D. Banta, the commanding general of 2nd MLG, filed into the mess hall to commemorate King’s civil rights legacy.
The military’s equal opportunity policies reflect King’s stress on ethnic, racial and gender equality and integration, said Lt. Cmdr. Marcus E. Lawrence, the chaplain with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd MLG, who took the lead in organizing the event.
“We talk about the ethos of the military, and it’s important to understand that what Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed during his time is very applicable even to this day,” said Lawrence. “The idea of seeing each other as brothers and sisters, the idea of selfless service, standing up for what’s right, and the willingness to do what’s right even if it is not popular fit in with the kind of people we’re called to be in the military.”
It’s important to be respectful and live peacefully with each other, said Lawrence, and King’s ability to use sources like the Declaration of Independence in his speeches to get his point across helped with his own credibility as a leader.
“The message King proclaimed during the time is a message that reaches across a broad spectrum of people,” said Lawrence. “Regardless of ethnicity, regardless of religion, he was able to not only identify the injustice he experienced but also challenge others to rise to the occasion and stand up for what’s right.”
Before Christmas, Banta requested the prayer breakfast as a way of celebrating King's vision of equality in America.
King’s values can be seen in the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ policy statement on equal opportunity, which states, “Every Marine, sailor and civilian Marine has an absolute right to be treated with dignity and respect – regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age or national origin.”
The Commandant’s letter goes on to say that any form of discrimination and harassment are violations of who we are and what we stand for as a Corps.