Commemorating the Legacy of Martin Luther King

The 38th annual commemorative service for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. II was held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the late civil rights leader once preached, January 17, 2005. The main speaker, Martin Luther King III, asked the congregation to remember his father’s dedication to peace and compassion as the world recovers from wars and natural disasters.

"Let us respond to this challenge by reaching out to help our sisters and brothers who are suffering because of the tsunami," said King III, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, in dozens of cities across the nation, thousands walked, sang and chanted, in memory of the slain leader.

According to AP, tens of thousands walked two miles in Denver, and a diverse line of walkers, drums and parade vehicles shouted excerpts of King’s speeches and started singing “We Shall Overcome.” Thousands also marched in Dallas, San Antonio, Nashville and Atlanta.

“It’s a time to reflect on where we were in the past, how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go,” said Milton Henderson, Jr., one of the marchers in Nashville, was quoted as saying.

In Philadelphia, 45,000 volunteers showed up for the 10th annual day of service named for the civil rights leader, and in San Francisco, more than 1000 riders hopped aboard the 20th annual Freedom Train in San Jose. The ride, which lasted 61 miles – the same distance of King’s 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, arrived in San Francisco at 11:15am. The riders then marched to the Bill Graham Civil Auditorium for a celebration to honor King.

Churches and universities across the nation also invited keynote speakers to share their reflection on the role Rev. Martin Luther King had in shaping the social and moral sphere of America.

Meanwhile, President Bush commemorated the late Reverend by proclaiming, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a visionary American and a dedicated leader who believed deeply in liberty and dignity for every person. His faith and courage continue to inspire America and the world."

Bush plans to attend an evening event honoring King at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.