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Keyport commemorates MLK's dream that never dies

Pastor Sam Rachal was the keynote speaker for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport’s Dr. Martin Luther King remembrance held Thursday. In the foreground is a table set in the traditional manner for a fallen soldier. Its white table cloth symbolizing the purity of a warrior’s intention and offers a somber reminder of King’s life and later assassination.  - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Pastor Sam Rachal was the keynote speaker for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport’s Dr. Martin Luther King remembrance held Thursday. In the foreground is a table set in the traditional manner for a fallen soldier. Its white table cloth symbolizing the purity of a warrior’s intention and offers a somber reminder of King’s life and later assassination.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

It’s been almost 35 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated, but his legacy lives on..

“I always admired that Dr. King had the courage to face issues and problems and take those problems on. And at the same time he had the maturity and the strength to do so in a nonviolent manner,” said Capt. Mary Townsend-Manning, commander of Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport.

A group of about 100 people gathered at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Jack Murdock Auditorium in Keyport to remember the slain civil rights leader.

“He stands as a model to me both in my personal life and in my military and business professional roles,” she said.

Pastor Sam Rachal Jr., of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bremerton was keynote speaker for the holiday service titled “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day on... Not a Day Off!”

He said we as a nation must not let important dates and people in history go unrecognized.

“Failure to set aside dates and times to commemorate significant people and dates is just a sign of ungratefulness. It says ‘We forgot,’” he said.

“Living in this high tech society, this monetary driven society our historical values can easily become distorted and we lose respect for the moment and the people who made great contributions.”

Born Jan 15, 1929, King would become one of the nation’s civil right’s leaders as he continually called for equal rights for all people.

In 1955-56 King led a boycott in Montgomery, Ala., against the municipal bus system after Rosa Parks , a black woman, refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to the segregated section of a bus. The boycott ended when, on Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court nullified Alabama laws and the ordinances of Montgomery that required segregation on buses.

April 4, 1968 King was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He died at St. Joseph’s Hospital from a gunshot wound in the neck.

More than three decades later, it is this nation’s responsibility to remember and honor KIng for bringing down the walls of injustice, Rachal said.

“We pride ourselves in fame and fortune. We build great skyscrapers and big businesses rather than building human relationships. How quickly we forget the human element that was involved in building this high tech society this Insta-matic society,” he said.

Sylvester Rose, an electronics technician at NUWC, Keyport came out to the event not to celebrate King’s accomplishments himself, but to see if other people will participate. A student of history, Rose is quite familiar with the importance of honoring those people like King who have changed it.

“It’s not my responsibility to try to persuade or convince people to come out here,” he said noting the turnout would have been better at Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

“And you have to pay to see that,” he said.

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