By Staff Sgt. Luis Orengo
Multi-National Division – Baghdad Public Affairs
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Multi-National Division – Baghdad and the 4th Infantry Division commemorated the life and achievements of one of America's titans, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the division chapel ,Jan. 21.
Soldiers of all races and creeds gathered at the chapel to rejoice and commemorate the true meaning of freedom.
"Martin Luther King, Jr., did not live long, but his impact in our society and way of life has been profound and lasting," said Maj. Kem Fleming, executive officer, 4th Inf. Div. Special Troops Battalion and master of ceremony. "He was a man of vision and his vision was of a liberated nation guided by the principles of compassion, tolerance and inclusion instead of hatred, elitism and segregation".
Chap. (Lt. Col.) James R. Carter, MND-B and 4th Inf. Div. chaplain, was the guest speaker for the occasion.
"I grew up in the deep South during very difficult times," said Carter, who is a Monroeville, Ala., native. "Dr. King impacted my life directly and indirectly in many ways. Black-Americans needed Martin Luther King, but above all, America needed him."
In a short period of 13 years Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his non-violent stand against segregation changed the life of millions in America and around the world.
"From 1955 to 1968 he was able to expound, expose and extricate America from many wrongs," said Carter. "He was the right prescription for our country, and it was the right time for our country."
Dr. Martin Luther King had everything in life. He graduated from high school at age 15, and earned his bachelor's degree four years later. At age 26 he earned his Bachelor of Divinity and earned his doctorate four years after that, Carter said.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., earned his place in society and could have easily looked the other way instead of facing the challenges of his time, he added.
"He was a man who could easily put image over integrity, but he refused to do it," Carter said. "He had a heart beat for moral courage and refused to give in to the system even though he knew what was required."
Dr. King endured 20 arrests, four beatings, two bombs placed in his house and countless threats against him and his family.
"He was motivated by faith to walk toward fear and did the hardest right instead of the easy wrong," Carter said. "He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things."
In 11 years Dr. King traveled more than six million miles giving more than 2,500 speeches and writing five books as well as numerous articles. He was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at age 35 in 1964. Above all, his crusade for equality for all Black-Americans in the nation brought both political and legal changes which can still be seen today.
"If you embrace freedom regardless of your race, ethnicity, gender, national origin or religion, then you are part of the great dream Dr. King had for America," said Fleming.
"The Martin Luther King, Jr., commemoration week is being celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world," said Fleming. "They celebrate the best mankind has to offer."