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Tri-Command observes Martin Luther King Day

By LCpl. Daniel Richardson | | January 19, 2000

Tri-Command Remembers Dr. King
Tri-Command Recognizes Dr. King's  Legacy During Commemoration Service
Tri-Command Observes Martin Luther King Day

Two-hundred and fifty Tri-Command residents commemorated the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a commemorative service held at the Depot Recruit Chapel Jan. 11.

The service brought together men and women of diverse races, marking the 16th National Holiday observed in King's honor.  Among them were Fredrick Drake and LaSalle Vaughn, Sr., two original Montford Point Marines, who were among the first African Americans to go through segregated Marine bootcamp.

"This year's theme, 'Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!', reiterates the importance of remembering Dr. King's work and legacy," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Joe Geeter, Air Station equal opportunity advisor and event coordinator. 

"Dr. Martin Luther King fought for equality and unity, and until his dream is accomplished, we must continue to remember," said Hospital Corpsman Third Class Willie Crawford, Martin Luther King Committee member.

Dr. King is renowned for his nonviolent struggle for civil rights for all people.  Beginning in 1986, Congress designated the third Monday in January a national holiday in his honor, making him the only American, aside from George Washington, to have a national holiday designated for his birthday.

"I thought the ceremony was very nice," said LaSalle.

During the service, guests enjoyed speeches and musical performances by members of the Tri-Command community.

The guest speaker was Chief Petty Officer Rodney Antoine, Air Station Branch Medical Center Career Counselor.  Antoine, an Ordained Minister, is currently the pastor at the Tabernacle Church of God and Christ.  During his speech, the pastor inspired the audience to make a difference.

The audience applauded Gunnery Sgt. Carmen Cordoba, Air Station Joint Public Affairs office staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, as she performed a solo titled "Change in My Life," by Billy Straus.

Gunnery Sgt. Gregory Whittaker, enlisted band leader of the Parris Island Marine Band, uplifted the crowd with his soprano saxophone version of "Oh Danny Boy."

"The least I can do is remember his legacy once a year by either performing or just attending these types of programs," said Whittaker.

"The opportunity and satisfaction of knowing that I communicated what God put in my spirit made it more than worth while," said Antoine.  "I think the ceremony was fantastic. You couldn't ask for a better service."

"We appreciate the support of the program participants," said Geeter. "Without them, this would not have been possible."