Martin Luther King Junior day celebrated for the first time in Pápa Air Base
17/1/2012- PÁPA AIR BASE, Hungary – Martin Luther King day was celebrated for the first time in Hungarian Pápa Air Base, where a multinational Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) is stationed.
Members of the Heavy Airlift Wing, with participants from several different nations committed a traditional silent march in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr in cold but sunny Hungarian winter weather at Pápa Air Base. To many of the participants it was also the first time they were able to experience this US tradition
“So, today, in order to continue on keeping Dr. King’s dream alive, let’s ask ourselves the following questions, “What is it that truly matters in our lives? What matters so much that we would be willing to place our very lives on the line?”, asked Chaplain, Major John F. Tillery in his speech
“I have stood, or sat, or held hundreds of people as they prepared for death and scores of people at the moment of their death. None of them said, Chaplain, what I really needed to do was spend more time at the office. Not one said, Chaplain, what I needed to do was to make more money. Not one said, “I really wanted fewer relationships.” They all wanted the same the thing – more time to be with and serve those that they loved; or the healing of a relationship gone badly.
“Serving” is an important value in the Martin Luther King’s day. Some HAW members participated voluntarily in the charity project, where shelters and fences are built in an animal shelter in a village near Pápa. The shelter is run by two Hungarian people without any public support.
As Chaplain Tillery put it: “You see, when it comes to the end, it’s all about people. I submit to you that what truly matters will have something to do with love and service to others.”
HAW Commander Colonel Keith Boone commented about the importance of the event: “Martin Luther King stood for many ideals the HAW represents—Freedom, Equality, and Unity. He might be an American, but his message and vision transcends national borders.”
Martin Luther King Jr was an American reverend and a civil rights leader, who became a symbolic leader of the American black people, but also a world figure. He received the Nobel peace prize at the age of 35 in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968. In the United States, Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January and has been celebrated since 1986. The date has been chosen to be the Monday falling closest to Dr King’s birthday, 15th January.
SAC (Strategic Airlift Capability) is a cooperative effort of 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. It is stationed in Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
Since the delivery of the first aircraft in July 2009, the HAW has now flown over 6 400 FH hours and delivered more than 27 000 tons of cargo and more than 13 000 passengers for the nations over 6 continents including missions to Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Europe.