COLUMBUS, Ga. – The entire Chattahoochee Valley paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message dream and legacy Monday. Through speech, service and sacrifice, hundreds of people young and old worked to honor the civil rights icon.
The community still feels the world-changing work of Dr. King to this day, even 50 years after his death.
While the calendar marks Monday, January 16, 2016 as a holiday, many chose to recognize the date as a day on rather than a day off. Dr. King ignited a movement that continues to influence all who hear who message.
A full day of celebrations started with the 31st Annual Alpha Unity Awards Breakfast in Columbus. Sgt. 1st Class Lissette Callahan understands that her path into the military began with Dr. King’s dream. She says
“Dr. Martin Luther King helped pave the way and open doors for diversity in our military and in our culture,” Sgt. Callahan told News 3. “[Dr. King’s message] makes me want to push harder and give 110% so I can open doors for other people in this job.”
Elsewhere in Columbus, dozens of Carver High School students, as well as community organizations, spent the King holiday picking up trash along the road. They cleaned the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outdoor Learning Trail, officially installed last year.
“This is a history lesson for the students,” Columbus Against Drugs founder Milton Lockett said. “I lived that history. The students today are seeing what we’re talking about and what this great man, Dr. King, stood for.”
Midtown Medical Center hosted a commemorative service dedicated to Dr. King’s life. Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe headlined the service. Rev. Dr. Michael Stewart stressed that Dr. King fought for more than just civil rights.
“[He called] us continually to those ideals of human rights, human justice, and looking after other people,” Stewart said.
Mayor Lowe says Dr. King sacrificed his life for a greater purpose.
“A lot of people measure him not living a long life,” Mayor Lowe said. “But he’s living a long life because he left a legacy. But you can never go wrong showing love.”
It’s that love that hearkens to one of Dr. King’s speeches, specifically his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway.
“Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”