Navy Commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance in Philadelphia

Story Number: NNS150116-21Release Date: 1/16/2015 2:40:00 PM
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By Margaret Kenyon, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Public Affairs

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (NNS) -- Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NAVSSES) honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy during a program in Philadelphia on Jan. 13.

Guest speaker Leni Uddyback-Fortson, director of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor/Philadelphia, and published poet, reflected on her earliest memories of a Dr. King celebration as well as on how her mother not only inspired her, but her entire town of Peekskill, New York.

"Concerned about the racial riots taking place in my sister's high school, mom began inviting area teens to our house on a weekly basis to read the poetry of renowned African-American poets ... Those readings were the beginning of what later became the Peekskill Drama Workshop ... They also marked the time when my love of poetry began," she explained.

Uddyback-Fortson also read two of her poems to the audience, "A Dream" and "Dream Speaker," which paid tribute to Dr. King and challenged the audience to continue the dream.

"We all have dreams--something inside of us-a seed of promise we've been given that holds our fullest potential ... Sometimes those dreams intercept with our vocations, so our jobs stop just being our jobs and become our passion, our mission," Uddyback-Fortson continued, emphasizing how the engineers in the audience may have a passion for the testing or inventing they do, or for sharing their experience and expertise with local Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students.

In addition to Uddyback-Fortson, NAVSSES Commanding Officer Capt. Walter A. Coppeans, III, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD) Capt. Rich Blank were on hand to provide remarks.

The Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia is a major component of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. It is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in-service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems and equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full-scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.

For more news from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, visit

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