USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Hundreds of crew members on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) gathered in the ship's hangar bay Feb. 12 in celebration of Black History Month.
The ceremony began with the National Anthem and the song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," commonly referred to as the Negro National Anthem, featuring the command's choir and dance team.
Leading the choir was Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Frazier Pollard from Truman's Combat Systems Department.
"Black History Month is very important. It allows everyone to focus on the great accomplishments African Americans have achieved to this day," said Pollard. "I think everything turned out great. With all our shipmates contributing toward the ceremony, it couldn't have gone better."
Following the anthems was an invocation from Truman Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. William Holiman, as well as remarks from Truman's Executive Officer Capt. John Meier and Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Allen R. Walker III.
Walker was also the guest speaker for the celebration. He commended crew members for their hard work and contributions toward Truman's mission.
"Black history is not only history from the past but our present history too. We're all heroes - we don't look at the color of people's skin, but the talents they bring to the table," said Walker. "Be that hero."
At the end of the ceremony, finalists from Truman's Black History Month essay contest were recognized by Truman's Heritage Cultural Committee. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared Hall, from Atlanta, Ga., wrote the winning essay. As winner of the essay contest, Hall won an MP3 player. Hall's essay included quotes from African American historical heroes and a reflection on what black history means to him.
"Black history shows that we do not have to abide strictly by the rules established by those in power," said Hall. "We have the ability to challenge what is, with the hope that we may create something new that may be."
"Black history isn't only of interest for African Americans. It's a history of struggle that inspires all Americans regardless of class and race," Hall added. "I am truly honored they chose me as the winner."
Black History Month began as "Negro History Week," a milestone created in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-educated author and journalist. Woodson was also the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.