Commentary: Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Published
  • By Col. Jenise Carroll
  • 75th Air Base Wing Commander

At Hill Air Force Base, and throughout the Air Force, we take special time out to celebrate the lives of the many courageous individuals who made great contributions to our nation.  On Monday, we will celebrate one of these great contributors and honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s efforts to advance civil rights in America inspired future generations to rise above the old culture of disrespect and discrimination into one that embraces diversity, inclusion and equality.  His tireless efforts led to Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 making discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin unlawful.  This new law guaranteed the right to equal access to public places and employment while also desegregating schools and guaranteeing the right to vote for all citizens.

We should never forget how he worked ceaselessly to end legal segregation and to unify our country.  Despite the dozens of arrests he endured for leading peaceful protests and the many attempts on his life, he personally led the struggle to rid the US of segregation and level the playing field for all.

Despite those challenges, he persevered in his efforts to ensure freedom and equality for all people. His selfless dedication to equality impacted our society in such a positive manner the entire world honored him with the Nobel Peace Prize at just 35 years old—the youngest to ever win it.

Time and again, Doctor King demonstrated the courage to do the right thing regardless of the odds stacked against him — and he paid with his life. He was assassinated in 1968 while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis.

As we move forward into 2022, I ask us all to remember the vision King gave his life for.  We all can work every day to create and maintain an environment free of discrimination, inequality and injustice while building dignity and respect between all of us.