Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Frost

PACIFIC OCEAN – Sailors gathered in USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) forecastle for a ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan. 23.

The ceremony, coordinated by Stennis’ Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee, highlighted King’s historic achievements in the advancement of civil and human rights and his overall influence on society. Sailors presented tributes to King through song and poetry, as well as lessons about the impact of his life on society.

King dedicated his life to fighting racial and economic injustice using peaceful protest. He protested low wages, unfair working conditions and inequality. His actions and ideals of equality, peace and empowerment continue to inspire people around the world.

Senior Chief Ship’s Serviceman Warren Brown recited parts of King’s most important and impactful speeches. He began his presentation with a brief declaration.

“As we gather here today to celebrate [King’s] life, legacy and mission, his famous words, ‘I have a dream,’ will be repeated this month all over our country,” said Brown. “That dream is still alive today in the hearts of all Americans, in the hearts of every Sailor, Airman, Marine and Soldier.”

The committee’s performance during the ceremony impressed the audience.

“I really enjoyed how passionate the presenters were,” said Navy Career Counselor 1st Class Luis Diaz, “They weren’t just going through a script, they have a real appreciation for the effort and impact Martin Luther King had.”
Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, Stennis’ commanding officer, spoke about the continued effort to break “the chains of segregation.”

“The greatest thing about being in this organization, and certainly in this crew, is that we own the successful breaking of those thought processes,” said Wettlaufer. “We are backed up by law and we are backed up by our own internal culture that [segregating people] is not how we do

Providing a combat-ready force to protect collective maritime interests, Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

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