|Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said everybody should live
their lives to satisfy a higher calling, said the guest speaker at Fort
McCoy’s Jan. 10 observance of the late Civil Rights leader’s birthday.
Tony Chatman, the president of Chatman Enterprises, has delivered many
presentations about King’s legacy to government audiences.
Tony Chatman speaks to guests at
Fort McCoy ‘s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance.
Chatman’s presentation focused on the three dimensions of living
a complete life. (Photo by
“I like the respect and protocol shown by the military,” he said.
“I’m more at home at a military installation than I am in other
King was largely unknown Aug. 28, 1963, when he was part of a Civil
Rights march on Washington, D.C., Chatman said. Many people, including
some well-known figures at that time, gave speeches that day. But King’s
presentation, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, touched people’s
minds, hearts and souls.
“He was inviting the listeners to take a higher path in life,” Chatman
said. “It wasn’t just about equality.”
Although many people thought of King as a dreamer, that description did
an injustice to the man, Chatman said. King is the only civilian in
history to have a federal holiday honoring him and his achievements.
For the Fort McCoy audience, Chatman delivered a motivational message
about the three dimensions of living a complete life: the length of
life, the breadth of life and the height of life.
King described people having an inward concern for their own welfare and
Chatman said people are put on earth for a purpose, and it’s critical
for them to find it and fulfill it to ensure personal growth.
“If people don’t grow, they regress,” Chatman said. “People can have
excuses for why we aren’t who we can be, but the reality of what’s
important is it’s not what happened to you but what you became.”
The breadth of life concerns the outward concern for the welfare of
others. Perhaps the best example is the story of the Good Samaritan, he
said. The road between Jerusalem and Jericho was famous because of
people pretending they were hurt, only to hurt strangers who offered
them aid, or ambushing and hurting strangers.
People often don’t stop to help others because of the perceived cost to
themselves, Chatman said.
The third dimension is aspiring to reach the height of life, Chatman
said. Instead of being content with their current situation in life,
King encouraged people to keep reaching for a higher level.
“The upward reach for God produces hope and faith,” Chatman said. “King
believed it was a time to reflect on a man and his ferocity to pursue
his life’s goal. It wasn’t time to reflect on his dream, but his
intensity in pursuit of that goal.”
Fort McCoy Garrison Deputy Command Lt. Col. Rob Humphrey said he had
recently visited the new King Memorial in Washington, D.C. He encouraged
everyone who travels to the nation’s capital to see the memorial, which
is within sight of the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his “I
Have a Dream” speech.
King’s efforts have made many opportunities available to people in the
military, Humphrey said.
The Fort McCoy Equal Opportunity Office sponsored the event. The next
event is a Feb. 23 observance from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at McCoy’s,
building 1571, to celebrate Black History Month.
For more information about Equal Opportunity observances at Fort McCoy,