YOKOSUKA, JAPAN – On board the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), sailors gathered Friday in remembrance of one of our nations most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Sponsored by Lassen’s multicultural committee, the ceremony took place on the mess decks where several crew members spoke about Dr. King’s life and achievements. The event included a biography of Dr. King, a personal poem by Chief Gunner’s Mate Bless Roberts, a recitation of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and quotations from his preaching.
“Young sailors today are very fortunate. The Navy is a very close and fraternal work environment and it is a clear example of the evolution of Dr. King’s dream,” said Chief Gunner’s Mate Bless L. Roberts after the ceremony. “It is important, even amidst our busy work schedule, to take time to reflect and appreciate the groundwork that Dr. King has laid out for us.”
It was King’s intense moral conviction as a leader of the civil rights movement that shaped our nation as we know it today and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. On the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, his legacy lives on and the progress made over the past four decades is evident in each sailor’s life.
“I am proud to say that today we are more colorblind than ever before…as a country, as a navy, and as a ship,” remarked Cmdr. Chip Wrye, Lassen’s commanding officer at the closing of the ceremony. “We have a very diverse crew and it is a testament to Dr. King’s vision at how well we accomplish our work.”
The ceremony culminated with a cake cutting presentation by Lassen’s commanding officer and Lassen’s youngest sailor, Seaman Arlene Tookes. Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.