VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) celebrated the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in Virginia Beach, Jan. 14. Pastor Joseph Fleming, who currently serves as the Chair of the Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Commemoration Service, served as the guest speaker and echoed the civil rights leaders’ timeless thoughts that “the world works better together than apart.”
Legalman 1st Class Jhaka Gartrell, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), presents Pastor Joseph Fleming, assistant pastor of Third Baptist Church, with coins, as a token of appreciation for serving as guest speaker for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Jan. 14. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mary Popejoy/Released) In 1983, legislation was signed creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of the civil rights leader. King is the first African American-and the first non-U.S. president-to have an official legal holiday. Fleming added that our diversity overall serves to make us stronger as a nation and thanked the NECC military and civilian personnel for serving their country, adding that “his legacy lives in your work and your service.” Legalman 1st Class Jhaka Gartrell, who coordinated this year’s MLK ceremony at NECC emphasized that “the future is promised to those who see opportunity before they become obvious." This week would have marked King’s 87th birthday. Multi-cultural Committee Chair Chief Hospitalman Reginald Morris added that during his lifetime, King acted as a humanitarian for all races. “The vision for us as people of all races are to come together despite our differences,” said Morris, who added this year’s theme is “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day on, Not a Day Off!” Each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service-empowering individuals to strengthen their communities and create solutions to social problems. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vital figure of the modern era and a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement. In sermons and speeches, King's voice rang out with a call for us to work toward a better tomorrow. His actions inspired men and women, young and old, in this nation and around the world.