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January 27, 2012


King speaker encourages people to find a higher calling

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.
PHOTO: Tony Chatman speaks to guests at Fort McCoy ‘s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance. Photo by Allan Harding
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 Allan Harding)

“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 environments.”

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 self-fulfillment.

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, call 608-388-3246.

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