By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain

15th Sustainment Brigade public affairs

Hundreds of soldiers from across the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gathered at Howze Theater Jan. 13 to honor the life and legacy of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The observance was titled, "Remember, Celebrate, Act – A Day On, Not a Day Off" and was hosted by the command's 15th Sustainment Brigade.

"Today we gather here to honor the memory of this great American Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and I always refer to doctor King as one of America's founding fathers," said Col. Larry Phelps, the commander of the 15th Sustainment Brigade.

Phelps went on to explain that although King was not alive when George Washington or Abraham Lincoln was, his movement changed the country forever by completing the vision of those earlier leaders.

"Before doctor King, we must ask ourselves if all men and women in America were truly equal," Phelps said. "I think we can all agree they weren't."

Phelps explained King is more than just another great man in a long line of patriots and founding fathers, he's a personal role model.

"There is no better role model for a soldier to have," Phelps said, speaking of King's leadership, courage, dedication and commitment.

Timothy Hancock, the event's guest speaker and Killeen's mayor, shared with the audience a poem, called the Dash Poem, by Linda Ellis.

The poem is about a person's tombstone, with an emphasis on the dash between the date of birth and date of death.

"What mattered most of all was the dash between those years," Hancock said, quoting the poem. "For that dash represents all the time that she [sic] spent alive on this earth."

Hancock talked about a speech given by King in 1963, in which he speaks of the repression of African-Americans, even 100 years after the slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.

King would be proud of the fact that 45 years after that speech, the citizens of the United States have elected an African-American as the next President.

"His dream and his vision continue to come about," Hancock said.

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