BREMERTON, Wash. – Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) held a ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the ship’s forecastle Jan. 15.
The ceremony, coordinated by Stennis’ Multi-Cultural Committee, highlighted Dr. King’s historic achievements in the advancement of civil and human rights and his overall influence on global society.
Stennis’ commanding officer, Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, was the guest speaker at the ceremony and reflected on the role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day played in his life.
“This day reminds me of when I was a young man,” said Wettlaufer. “It was during the Vietnam War, a time of change and social strife in America, but he stood for an ideal. It was an ideal of moving forward. That is what Dr. King taught us.”
The ceremony also featured a reading of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by Aviation Ordnance Airman Cornelius Knox, from Los Angeles.
“I was proud to be able to recite his speech,” said Knox. “It means a lot to be able to honor him [King] and the work he did.”
Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting racial and economic injustice and promoting human and civil rights. He protested low wages, unfair working conditions and inequality, and inspired people around the world with his ideals of equality, peace, and empowerment.
“What really spoke to me was his non-violent approach through all the turmoil he endured,” said Knox. “He never picked up a stone and threw it back.”
Stennis is currently undergoing a Docking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.