SAN DIEGO – The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard’s (LHD 6) heritage committee hosted a celebration Jan. 15, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day.
The event included a cake cutting ceremony, informational displays and a speech by Chief Electronics Technician Donnielle Clay, a guest speaker of the Bonhomme Richard heritage committee.
“I come from a family with a long history of military service and I would briefly like to share with you the impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on my grandmother, a World War II service veteran,” said Clay. “As I look to her picture with great pride, I look to it with sadness. Sadness, because she served our country and risked her life even though her right to vote freely was often refused to her. Her right to simply exist and to have space and opportunity was denied to her because the color of her skin. Despite it all, she proudly stood tall in the hope and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She instilled in me the beliefs of Dr. King and encouraged me to listen to his speeches. As I look back on it now I can’t help but to be thankful to her. It is because of her I chose to serve my country, but I am ever aware that without the efforts of Dr. King my success and advancement would be limited.”
Capt. G. S. Thoroman, commanding officer of USS Bonhomme Richard, closed the ceremony with a speech commemorating the bravery and influence that Dr. King represented.
“For a man with all the reasons to hate, [Dr. King] preached love,” said Thoroman. “His life was threatened, and was ultimately assassinated. He was arrested multiple times, his house was fire bombed with his children and wife at home, yet he preached community and united everyone together. He said, ‘The time is always right, to do what is right,’ and, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. ’”
The MLK holiday on Jan. 20, 2020, will mark the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
Bonhomme Richard is the third vessel to carry the name and its historical legacy, and the sixth of the Navy's Wasp-class amphibious assault ships. Its mission is to embark, deploy and land elements of the Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations by aircraft, amphibious vehicles or any combination of these methods, as well as provide humanitarian assistance. Bonhomme Richard is in its homeport of San Diego.For more information about Bonhomme Richard, visit our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ussbhr
and on Twitter at httpa://twitter.com/LHD6BHR