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MLK guest speaker charges audience to continue King's legacy

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Bevon Drummond, North American Aerospace Defense Command, sings “Change is Gonna Come,” during a commemoration service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 25, 2016 in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel.  Bevon was accompanied by musicians from the Air Force Academy Band.  (U.S.  Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Bevon Drummond, North American Aerospace Defense Command, sings “Change is Gonna Come,” during a commemoration service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 25, 2016 in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel. Bevon was accompanied by musicians from the Air Force Academy Band. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Guest speaker Capt. Jonathan Brown, 21st Medical Operations Squadron, encourages people to carry on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a commemorative service held Jan. 25, 2016 in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Guest speaker Capt. Jonathan Brown, 21st Medical Operations Squadron, encourages people to carry on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a commemorative service held Jan. 25, 2016 in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Capt. Jonathon Brown, 21st Medical Operations Group, was guest speaker for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative service in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel Jan. 25, 2016. Brown challenged those in the audience to carry on the legacy of peace and equality King left behind. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Capt. Jonathon Brown, 21st Medical Operations Group, was guest speaker for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative service in the Peterson Air Force Base chapel Jan. 25, 2016. Brown challenged those in the audience to carry on the legacy of peace and equality King left behind. (U.S. Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Liberty, freedom, equality and peace are all part of the legacy left behind when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was so shockingly taken from this earth by an assassin's bullet on an April 1968 evening in Memphis, Tenn.  From the scenes playing on the large video screens to the songs sung to the words of the guest speaker, King's legacy was front and center on Peterson Air Force Base.

A commemoration service was held Jan. 25 in the Peterson Chapel to honor King, a clergyman famed for his role in the American civil rights movement. He was best known for his non-violent protests and marches in the 1960s aimed at bringing racial equality to America and earning him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Guest speaker Capt. Jonathan Brown, 21st Medical Operations Squadron clinical social worker, called King a great American sage and patriot.

"A sage because he offered wisdom to the soul of a nation," Brown said, "A patriot because he gave his life for the nation..."

Brown said members of the military should honor King for his patriotism. He said King's life and legacy should call into remembrance the oath each one took when they entered military service, an oath that may call one to sacrifice his life for freedom.
Sacrifice was woven into the actions and ideal all through King's life. Brown said it took great sacrifice to assume leadership in the civil rights movement, to march in Selma, Alabama, and to write his "Letter from a Birmingham jail" defending nonviolent resistance to racism.

Drawing ties to principles upheld by the military, things like integrity and service before self, were things also upheld by King and standing for them is costly.

"Living the dream as Dr. King did involves transformation," Brown said. Changing people's minds to accept liberty and freedom regardless of race or economic status is what King strove to accomplish. Facing fear and cultivating courage are what makes a person truly great.

"As Dr. King said, 'Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.' You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love," said Brown.

He asked the audience if their lives could be a great demonstration for freedom, especially when it is hard to do or costly. He asked if people could endeavor to be like King before charging all to go forth in peace and serve the dream King had of a world filled with equality for all people.

The presentation ended with the song "We Shall Overcome," an unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement. And as the song played, a lone woman stood and King's legacy lives on.

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