Members of the Defense Logistics Agency Energy workforce attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. observance ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Jan. 15 and listened as Alexandria, Va., Mayor William D. Euille shared how Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings impacted his life and emphasized how others could continue King’s dream.
“I cannot begin to tell you how amazed and proud I am to live as a negro, which is Dr. King’s word, in a non-segregated Alexandria and now serve as the first African American mayor of such a multicultural city,” Euille said at an observance of King’s birthday there. “I am where I am not because who I am. I am where I am because of someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, who inspired me with his message to be engaged, to be involved, to love, to respect, and to care for others."
Although Euille said he never met King, he felt that the civil-right leader was a gifted, intelligent and forward-thinking leader.
“Dr. King was a voice of reason in a time of chaos,” he said.
Euille spoke about the nation’s challenges during the civil rights era. During King’s time, race dictated where a person could learn, dine or travel, Euille said.
“America was behaving as a young adolescent; rebelling against its founders and concepts of creating a nation where each person was created equal,” he said. “Dr. King was a voice of equality, working tirelessly to educate our adolescent nation.”
Euille said Alexandria is a prime example of King’s legacy. Despite a past that includes segregated schools and housing, he said, the city’s leaders recognized the power of unity and made changes to create a community of acceptance for thousands of residents from hundreds of cultures and races.
“Just in our high school at T.C. Williams, with just over 2,500 students, there are over 100 different ethnicities and 80 different languages that are spoken in that one building each and every day,” he said.
The King observance was hosted by the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Defense Technical Information Center, the Defense Contract Audit Agency and U.S. Strategic Command’s Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction. DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek said the holiday was a great day for all Americans and urged those in attendance to find a way to serve their communities Jan. 21.
“We will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, not as a day off, but as a day of service,” he said.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is held annually on the third Monday in January. This year’s holiday coincides with the inauguration of President Barack Obama and will be observed Jan. 21.