NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) diversity council organized an African American/Black History month commemoration ceremony on board the Floating Accommodation Facility, Feb. 4, to recognize the rich contributions and accomplishments of our forbearers.
Lt. Jihyeok Lim, Abraham Lincoln's diversity officer kicked off the event, thanking the contributors and attendees for their involvement.
"We are not just celebrating African American/Black History Month on one day this month, but rather all month long," added Lim, who discussed future events to be held later in February to further recognize contributions by African Americans to not only our Navy, but to our nation.
Command Chaplain, Cmdr. Maurice Buford served as the event's guest speaker and challenged all Sailors to look for ways to become game changers in their own lives.
"From the flight decks of a carrier to the football fields of the NFL, from the highways of our respective hometowns to the floors of Wall Street ... organizations are longing for some game changers or someone to step into a situation, positively transform the atmosphere and help to take the team to the next level," said Buford. "I want to invite you on a journey to look at some of our historical game changers so that we can take this ship, our country and our Navy to the next higher level."
Buford provided historical references to the accomplishments and sacrifices of African Americans who in their day were positive game changers. From the ten million African Americans who were sold into slavery from 1650 through 1860 to the contributions of Harriet Tubman, Buford explained how through the ages African Americans have persevered through their resiliency and resourcefulness.
"Our forbearers had what you would refer to as the resiliency and resourceful factor," said Buford, who added "they also knew the best is yet to come."
The command chaplain encouraged Abraham Lincoln Sailors in attendance to learn from those who have gone before us and apply their lessons learned in our daily lives.
Some of his suggestions included to: "Create a sense of urgency in your life and live a life with purpose," said Buford, who added Sailors should strive for their own "excellence factor" in that "whatever you do, do your job so well that no one person can emulate your work."
Lt. Cmdr. Tarail Vernon, Ship's nurse, also spoke at the event, and remarked how each and every Sailor is a deciding factor of their own destiny and future happiness.
"I say maintain a positive attitude every single day," said Vernon. "Having a positive attitude is essentially who you are and how you can succeed in life."
Vernon also reflected on our namesake's contribution to our nation.
"Our namesake issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which led to the passing of the 13th Amendment of our Constitution," said Vernon. "I am proud to serve on board USS Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln played a pivotal and key role in our nation's history and sacrificed so much so that we could all be here today."
USS Abraham Lincoln is currently undergoing refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
USS Abraham Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.