Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Community events pay tribute to slain civil rights leader

By Calen McKinney


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
-Matthew 5: 43-44

As they walk closer, their message gets louder. And throughout the weekend, they kept that message alive.

About 30 people marched on Saturday in the cold to honor slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The annual march was the first of three events hosted in King’s honor over the weekend.

The march began at Campbellsville Middle School and ended at First Baptist Church.

Marchers, bundled up to protect themselves from the cold wind, sang songs about freedom, overcoming adversity and God.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” they sang as they walked to the steps of the church.

There, they prayed together and asked God to watch over them.

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young told the crowd that the day was one to encourage people to foster good character and leadership in children.

“We never know who watches us, who’s listening to us,” he said, “and the impression that we’re making.”

He said the lesson King began 45 years ago can still be alive today.

“We can make a difference,” he said. “Our children look to us and learn how we’re supposed to act.”

And as King told people, Young said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.”

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers thanked the crowd for helping keep King’s dream alive.

“It takes all of us working together to make this dream stay alive,” he said.

Rogers said he believes mankind today has a lack of love for one another.

“It’s not whether we’re black, white, yellow, green or red,” he said. “We’re all in God’s hands.”

The events in King’s honor continued Saturday night at the Taylor County Civic League’s annual reception.

President Sam Wickliffe said it was King who said he hoped all people would conduct themselves with patience, humility and compassion.

“Love is the greatest of all,” Wickliffe said.
Leading the crowd in prayer, the Rev. Michael Caldwell said people are living King’s dream today, but he hopes it is expanded.

“Call on God [that he] will heal a sick nation,” Caldwell said. “Thank the Lord that we’re not where we used to be.”

He said he hopes young people today appreciate the sacrifices King and soldiers have made for them.

“We will and shall overcome,” he said.

Young told the crowd that he believes parents need to make a conscious effort to help their children develop good character.

“Your character is defined ... not by what you say, but what you do.”

Young said he decided recently that he is going to strive to be better than himself, and he encourages others to do the same.

“Think about that,” he said. “That’s a challenge.”

Rogers said that even though he is there to pay tribute to King, he feels troubled about what has happened in the world during the past few weeks.

After innocent people were shot and killed in Newtown, Conn., he said, people might be asking why such a tragedy can happen and how other shootings can be prevented.

“Dr. King fought for nonviolence,” Rogers said. “And I can only imagine how sad he would be if he were alive today.”

Rogers said he believes people today can change the world and further King’s fight to end violence.

And that means people must stick together, he said.

“It doesn’t matter what color our skin is. We’re all equal in God’s sight. It only matters how big our hearts are.”

Campbellsville City Councilwoman Sharon Hoskins-Sanders said King dedicated and gave his life to helping millions of people.

Honoring King, she said, commemorates his efforts and encourages universal love, which could break racial barriers. A community youth choir performed several songs, including “Wade in the Water” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Josh Miller read King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and the Gospel Explosion Choir sang.

Campbellsville Ecumenical Ministerial Alliance hosted its annual worship service in King’s honor on Sunday.

Several scriptures were read, including many King quoted in his speeches, like Matthew 5: 43-44.

The Rev. Frank Price, pastor at Bethel AME Church in Campbellsville, spoke during Sunday’s service.

“Our theme today is ‘My eyes have seen the glory of God,’” he said.

He said people today might sometimes forget that God is with them, perhaps when a bank is foreclosing a home or someone lost their job or is experiencing an abusive relationship.

“God has promised, ‘I’ll be with you,’” Price said. “Keep the faith ... don’t look back for the easy way out, for I am with you.”

Price said God promised to stay with people, through troubles at home, school or church.

“God shall strengthen your heart,” he said. “Wait, don’t give in ... just wait on the Lord.

“He may not come when you want him. He might not be there when you think he should be ... but he’s always on time.”

Price said people should be true to themselves and God will come to them.

“His glory is seen through you,” Price told the crowd. “[We] see his glory everywhere. But most of all, you see his glory in the life you live.”

Campbellsville University hosted an MLK memorial service in King’s honor yesterday, after press time.