A Special Commemoration in Atlanta

Today it was my privilege to bring greetings from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to the 44th Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

I have had a few out-of-this world experiences, but I must say that standing in the pulpit where Dr. King, Daddy King and now Rev. Warnock, the church’s current pastor, have inspired so many, was an out-of-body experience for me.

I brought the audience in that historic building and every person watching it on television greetings from the First Family: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha. Like me, they are all proud children of Dr. King’s sacrifice. They have brought his ideals, his faith and his steadfast commitment to building the “beloved community” into the White House.

While Dr. King’s influence and teachings have reached every corner of this globe, today he and Coretta’s children are also testament to their parents’ love and commitment to family. As many of you are quite aware by now, I grew up about 200 miles from Atlanta, in Columbia, South Carolina. My mother, wife, and daughter are all products of college and post-graduate education in Atlanta – at Atlanta University, Spelman, and Georgia Tech. Many of the values I have brought to my professional life, I also got from my parents…being bold and being fearless, and not allowing what other people think or say deter me from doing what is right. They taught me not to just sit on the sideline of life, but to strive to turn my passion and dreams into reality. My parents were greatly inspired by the tenets of Dr. King.

While I treasure the inspiration I received today, I hope the NASA Family and our extended circle of friends around the world will also be inspired by Dr. King’s example and do something today to make the world a better place.

To watch all of today’s presentations at Ebenezer in honor of Dr. King, visit: