NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a small ceremony and cake cutting on the aft mess decks at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Va., Jan. 18.
The theme of the celebration was "In the spirit of unity and service: Remember! Celebrate! Act!" The ceremony opened with the National Anthem and some welcoming words from the host, Lt. j.g. Christopher Labissiere.
"I believe Dr. King had three loves: God, country and his fellow man," said Labissiere. "This is what made him a true American."
Those in attendance sat quietly while listening as Kings' recorded voice came over speakers. This recorded excerpt by King was a Bible reading from Jesus to James and John. Kings message focused on the fact that you don't have to be a successful genius to serve God. "True greatness does not come from favoritism, but fitness," he said.
Lt. Cmdr. Elissa Smith spoke following King's reading suggesting that everyone should not only remember King but all of the influential people in the American civil rights movement.
"Remember not just Dr. King, but all who have gotten us here today," said Smith. "Remember 1955 when Rosa Parks wouldn't give up her seat on the bus, 1948 when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the military and 1960 when the first lunch counter sit-in to desegregate eating facilities was held by students in Greensboro, North Carolina."
The celebration concluded with a cake cutting by Commanding Officer Capt. James Gigliotti.
Those in attendance of the celebration thoroughly enjoyed the effort by Truman's heritage committee.
"I thought it was very interesting," said Quartermaster 2nd Class (SW/AW) Takesha Matthews. "It was a time for shipmates to come together and reflect on what Martin Luther King stood for: unity in all races."
Truman is currently planning a celebration for Black History Month in February while on a 10-month Docked-Planned Incremental Availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.