Service members celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
By Cpl. Christopher Duncan
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | February 27, 2013
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The National Naval Officers Association’s Camp Pendleton-Miramar Chapter in partnership with the naval hospital here hosted a 2013 Black History Month program, Feb. 26.
This year’s program was titled “At the Crossroads of Freedom & Equality; 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington” and NNOA members gathered in the auditorium on the ground floor of the hospital to celebrate Black History month.
“Each year the Camp Pendleton-Miramar NNOA chapter holds a Black History Month event to remember the people who sacrificed so that we have our freedoms,” said Capt. NaTasha Everly, the public affairs officer for the chapter. “This year we were pleased to be able to partner with the naval hospital to host this event.”
Guest speaker, Willie Buchanon, a retired NFL cornerback who played for the San Diego Chargers, shared his experiences with growing up just outside of the base, in an era where cultural diversity was not easily accepted.
“Growing up here, I knew a few Montford Point Marines and they would tell me about some of the plights of segregation in the military,” said Buchanon. “I commended them for the strength they showed in still being willing to serve their country despite having things like that as an obstacle.”
Buchanon comes from a family with a legacy that has impacted the Camp Pendleton and Oceanside communities. The Mance Buchanon Park on College Boulevard is named after his father, and his mother Ethel Mae, who was also in attendance, was the first black student to graduate from Oceanside High School.
“The blend of Navy, Marine Corps and civilian personnel in attendance shows the Marine Corps tie to the community here in Oceanside,” said Lt. Col. David Everly, the president of the NNOA here.
Events like this are opportunities to reach service members who may not have an extensive knowledge of military history.
“Diversity isn’t just about race; it’s about creed, religion, age and cultural differences as well,” said David. “I think everyone walks away enlightened and uplifted after attending these events.”