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Honoring a legacy of freedom

Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. -- Monday, Jan. 20, commemorates the day to honor a man who had a voice. The voice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King's speeches and visions inspired the nation to stand strong for what was right and paved the way for civil rights advocates to walk down.

King dedicated his life to fight inequality between people and encouraged respect and fairness between everyone. With changing times came changing perspectives. Without King's persistence and powerful voice during the sudden changes, the nation could have fallen into civil turmoil.

Powerful words and inspiring speeches were the foundation for King's persuasiveness during the 1960's. Although his famous "I Have a Dream" speech was born more than 40 years ago, his words still ring clear and continue to shape the people of our nation today.

Through his activism, King played a very important role in ending legal segregation throughout the nation and pressed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For his perseverance and dedication, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 along with many other recognitions and honors.

While King preached the importance of non-violence and encouraged actions that were protected under the First Amendment, he was no stranger to charging forward in order to obtain a goal. He always fought for what he believed in, no matter what the cost would be in the end.

Sometimes facing charges or jail time, King never became discouraged in the eyes of defeat. His powerful voice always prevailed as the thought of defeat diminished from his path. He used the First Amendment to his advantage, conducting peaceful demonstrations and rallies along with boycotts and marches.

As we take the time to reflect on the great accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this holiday, we should remember all of the great things he accomplished in his lifetime. The men and women who he has inspired, the families who supported him during the hardest times of his life, and the lives that were changed because of a dream, are what encompass the legacy of King and what continues to push the legacy forward to this day.

As members of the United States Air Force, we can follow the notions and persevere for what is right in similar ways that King did. As members of the Armed Forces, we represent freedom for all. The unity of the nation as a whole because of leaders like King is what has given us the courage to do what is right and to learn to rely on one another as simply a brother or sister in arms regardless of who you are, what you look like or where you are from.
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