Dyess Airmen celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dyess Airmen celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon attendees watch a video commemorating King’s life at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 11, 2018. More than 100 attendees came together to celebrate the life and legacy of King. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class April McAnally)

Dyess Airmen celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sits on a table during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 11, 2018. The annual luncheon commemorates the life and legacy of King. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class April McAnally)

Dyess Airmen celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

U.S. Air Force Col. Brandon Parker, 7th Bomb Wing commander, speaks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 11, 2018. Parker spoke on the lessons he learned from King’s leadership, such as the values and virtues King held onto during his lifetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class April McAnally)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Dyess African American Heritage Committee hosted the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon at the Hangar Center, Jan. 11.

More than 100 men and women from across Dyess Air Force Base and Abilene attended the event. The annual luncheon commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King.

“This is a chance for military members to come together and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all he accomplished,” said Staff Sgt. LaTanya Tidwell, Dyess AAHC vice president. “This is a symbolic event.”

Special guests were in attendance to include both 7th Bomb Wing and 317th Airlift Wing commanders, senior leaders, along with Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams. Col. Brandon Parker, 7th BW commander, was the guest speaker for the event and spoke about leadership lessons he has learned from King and the legacy that continues on.

“If you truly want to honor Dr. King’s life today, we cannot only celebrate his life’s work but we must also champion the legacy of the works of those he inspired,” Parker said. “Following his untimely death, others would take hold of the torch of freedom he held so high. Yes, there were many hills to climb but the path had been laid.”

Throughout King’s life, he faced tribulation and adversity but he kept pushing forward.

“This is more than just Dr. King day, it’s a day to gain knowledge of what one man accomplished, not by violence but by love,” Tidwell said.
In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, New York senator from 1961-1964, spoke on the death of King:

“Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black – considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King Jr. did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”