Air Force leaders commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. birthday

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Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy issued the following message to the Airmen of the U.S. Air Force:

This year, on what would have been the 82nd birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., let us pause to reflect on the extraordinary leadership with which he forged our nation's path toward greater justice and equality for all, irrespective of color, creed, station or race. Although his life was tragically cut short by the very intolerance that he urged all people to forsake, Dr. King's powerful message has continued to inspire each of us to honor the timeless principles of freedom and opportunity. These concepts are embodied in our service core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

Our collective challenge is to build on Dr. King's legacy, and permeate his wisdom throughout our nation's culture -- in our military and in our communities. The Air Force is dedicated to fostering a diverse force -- one that draws strength and vitality from our different perspectives. We seek empowerment from diversity beyond that of race, gender, religion and other conventional notions of personal identity. Indeed, we seek diversity of thought, education and experiences that have shaped each of us, and which will continue to strengthen our Air Force.

Dr. King's philosophy is as meaningful today as it was when he boldly championed it during the civil rights movement. He had a dream. We demonstrate our commitment to this dream by continuing to build a cohesive team of Airmen from all segments of our society, an Air Force in which each Airman is valued for his or her individual perspective while at the same time bound by shared values and common cause. This is a military necessity.

On Monday, we encourage each of you, whether with family and friends, or while on faithful watch at one of our many worldwide locations, to ponder these truths and remember the legacy of Dr. King.

We thank you all for your service.

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)