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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2023

JBSA leaders join San Antonio community to honor, celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

By Olivia Mendoza Sencalar 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Joint Base San Antonio and 502nd Air Base Wing command team helped observe the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday by representing the military members of JBSA at the City of San Antonio’s 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March and Celebration event Jan. 16, 2023. The event is the largest of its kind in the nation.

This was the first in-person MLK March and Celebration held in San Antonio in several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The San Antonio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, or MLK Commission as they are commonly known, selected the 2023 theme as, “Together We Can Be THE Dream.”

“Dr. King painted for us a dream, that one day we’d be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood, that our nation can live up to this dream, that we hold these truths to be self-evident that all are created equal,” said Brig. Gen. Russell Driggers, the Joint Base San Antonio and 502nd ABW commander, who spoke at the event.

“This is a righteous purpose, one worth fighting for -- the purpose to which Dr. Martin Luther King called us then and he calls us now - -to be the best of ourselves together,” the general said.

During his remarks at the Celebration event, Driggers also pointed out that we are united as a nation by a sense of purpose – a purpose Dr. King stood for valiantly – the promise of democracy, of freedom, a promise that “guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Numerous military and civic leaders, as well as thousands of members of the community, participated in this year’s march, which began at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy and ended at the Pittman-Sullivan Park in San Antonio.

Dana Lockridge, the MLK Commission chair, said San Antonio’s march has such a large participation because of the closeness shared within the Alamo Region.

“The people here in San Antonio are like family,” Lockridge said. “Everyone here is so nice, caring and eager to help.”

The Pittman-Sullivan Park celebration included a main stage with multicultural performances, a health and wellness area, a youth area, vendors, and information booths.

“We have made tremendous progress as a community and as a nation,” said Ron Nirenberg, mayor of the City of San Antonio. “This celebration is something we can all be proud of.

“We have proven today, just as we march every year, why San Antonio is such a special place to be,” the mayor added. “I’m proud to say to you, we will continue to push for progress, for equity, for the tenets of Dr. King’s dream.”

Each year the Department of Defense joins the nation in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his work as an inspirational civil rights leader and a reminder to all to strive to live up to the standards he set and to meet the challenges that remain. The DOD understands that freedom, equality, and inclusion are true force multipliers and imperative to national defense and the strength of our nation.