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  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Monday, Jan. 19, commemorates the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The work he accomplished and his vision have permanently altered the country we live in today.

Despite the magnitude of his accomplishments and the drastic changes that have taken place since his renowned "I have a dream" speech, his vision is just as relevant today as when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and addressed the thousands who stood before him.

"It is important for us, as a nation, to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day," said Staff Sgt. Piankhy Richberg, 30th Space Wing equal opportunity advisor. "He changed America for the better and brought the world's attention to the harsh race relations within the U.S. His strong leadership and uncanny power of speech inspired people to have the courage and faith to keep working towards equality in a peaceful manner when others did not. This led to the laws we follow today that make life fairer for all."

Scrolling through social networking and news sites gives a decent approximation of what hot-button social issues are being talked about. It's no surprise that many of them are related to civil rights and discrimination. These issues are the same issues that King fought against. We need to remember our history so we can change our future; and if we change our future, we can fulfill King's dream.

"I think the America that Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of is heading in the right direction," said Richberg. "I believe his dream will come to fruition in the next two generations, because of how connected we are to other cultures around the world."

It is because of that connectedness with the rest of the world that we need to continue to live King's dream and set a precedent for civil rights, at home and abroad.

"The period of the civil rights movements was from 1954-1968 but the movement isn't a period of time and we are not done," said Col. Fred Taylor, Joint Space Command Operations Center deputy director. "We have Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and countless others not in uniform or in government defending the principles of freedom and justice, at home and around the world. Though not perfect, the military has paved the way for justice and equality on many fronts and helps defend those rights for others,"

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of celebration but also sadness and reflection, it is a reminder that despite the victories that have been won in the name of civil rights and equality, prejudice still threatens to divide us at every turn.

"Even though we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream," said King during his I have a dream speech. "It is a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"