Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa celebrated Martin Luther King Day, January 19, 2009, with a program titled, "Realizing the Vision," which highlighted King's life through songs, speeches and a slideshow.
Rear Admiral Philip Greene, Combined Joint Task Force commander, opened the event saying, "Today we celebrate the life and legacy of one of America's greatest leaders; today we celebrate the birth, life and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."
Following Greene's remarks, Sergeant Tory Holmes sang "A Change is Gonna Come."
Guest Speaker Ambassador James Swan said, "This is a great year and a great day to celebrate a great man--I think for me, what makes Dr. King such a great figure for America is that he had a bold vision but not only did he have a bold vision, he executed that vision."
"I think when we talk about people having impact, when we talk about great leaders surely no one could be greater than someone who has literally changed the way we function as a country, literally changed the way we interact socially in our society and in our day-to-day lives, that's impact and that's leadership."
Participants of the event took the opportunity to view a collection of historical African-American magazines and news clippings owned by Don Dodson, Camp Lemonnier ITT Systems.
Dodson began building his collection by chance in 1997, when he noticed a collection of old newspaper clippings in the house he was about to buy. Among those clippings was a 1948 issue of Chicago Defender, the United States' largest and most influential black weekly newspaper, established in 1905.
The owner told Dodson he could have the paper with the agreement that he would, "do good with it."
Later, at a flea market, Dodson purchased a stack of old Jet magazines, originally called "The Weekly Negro News Magazine," which is notable for its role in chronicling the early days of the American Civil Rights movement.
Twelve years later, through internet searches and auctions, Dodson has expanded his collection extensively, from six to 600 items and most recently acquired a November 1942 1st edition of Negro Digest, which was the beginning of Johnson Publishing, which now produces Jet and Ebony.
According to Dodson, only 3000 copies were produced.
"For me to be so fortunate to have found this, I feel it truly completes my collection honoring John Johnson and Johnson publishing. This is the most unique and certainly rarest article of the collection," he said.
"The exhibit by Donnie Dodson was amazing," said Marquita Melvin, Joint Force Five president. "Every participant in the event performed beautifully. It was exciting to see so many people [come to the ceremony] to celebrate the legacy and dream of Dr. King."