WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) employees gathered together to celebrate the Black History Month theme of "African-Americans and the Civil War," aboard the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15.
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, of South Carolina, served as the keynote speaker and recounted stories from his childhood and throughout his career to explain how those experiences had an impact on who he is today.
"No two people have had the same experiences, and because of that, no two people will see the world the same way," said Clyburn. "No matter what your gender, sometimes you will have experiences because of your gender. No matter what your skin color may be, you will have some experiences based on the color of your skin in our society. As a result of that, you are going to internalize some things differently."
NCIS Director Mark Clookie also addressed the crowd and expressed his appreciation for the committee members from NCIS and CNIC.
"I want to thank everyone who participated in this ceremony today for helping us to remember the many sacrifices that African-Americans have made for us as a country, and also for many other countries."
Clookie said diversity is very important to all military organizations and to the nation as a whole.
"Our strength is in our diversity," said Clookie. "The more we blend together and fight for a common cause, the more the true strength of America shows through."
Capt. Bette Bolivar, CNIC chief of staff, closed the ceremony by talking about the Navy's diverse force in today's world.
"Our forces today continue to be educated on the theme of diversity," said Bolivar. "Diversity of thought, experience, background, and skill is essential to meeting mission requirements. Diversity has made our nation and our Navy that much stronger."
Bolivar said the Navy will recognize Black History Month by commemorating the distinguished service of more than 89,000 African-Americans currently serving in the Navy, including active duty, Reservists and civilians. She echoed themes sounded by the other speakers and explained how they apply to today's military.
"We must continue to track, develop, mentor and retain top diverse talent to remain a strong and relevant force," added Bolivar.
Law enforcement and defense attaches from the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Egypt, Ghana, Haiti, South Africa, and Uganda, and representatives from the Ad Hoc Committee, a group of African-American senior executives serving in the Department of the Navy, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) attended the ceremony.
NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency that protects and defends the U.S. Department of the Navy against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats, investigates major criminal offenses and provides law enforcement and security services to the Navy and Marine Corps on a worldwide basis. The agency is comprised of approximately 2,400 employees, including more than 1,200 civilian special agents, in more than 150 locations around the world.
For more news from Naval Criminal Investigative Service, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/ncis/.