The service Friday at Meridian Naval Air Station was more than just a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy. It may well have been a sign of the progress we have made in our society.
Fredie Carmichael was the first white guest speaker at this ceremony. Officials said the decision was made on the inspiring words he has written as a staff reporter for The Meridian Star.
"It goes to show that Dr. King's dream is touching the lives of people all over the world, of all races," said NAS Meridian representative Bennie L. Earvin. "And that's what his dream was about, and diversity that exists, and recognizing that diversity that exists in all people around the world."
Carmichael said he was inspired by Dr. King and his teachings, but he reminded attendees that King also wanted those who followed him to continue to move forward with efforts toward human dignity and equality.
"I really just wanted to get across that yes we have come a long way. We have made progress, but we cannot get complacent," Carmichael said.
Like Dr. King, Carmichael said he believes that you cannot just put on the mask of acceptance towards others. You have truly believe it in your heart before they will follow.
"The best thing I think is to just live it. As soon as your heart is pure, whether it be having God in your life or just being open to people and experiences, just live that and other people will feed off that," said Carmichael.
Northeast Middle School also held its 4th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration Friday. The program featured guest speakers, former Parkview Principal Coy Jefcoat, and justice court Judge Robbie Robinson, who recalled the life and times of Dr. King.
"I hope they will learn the true value of the holiday, on the struggle and the pain and the differences we all used to have," said Adrien T. Mosley, Celebration Chairperson. "It's important to learn to move on, to have a dream, to go forth and achieve Dr. King's dream of equality for all people."
Northeast Middle School's Martin Luther King essay contest winners, who placed second in the essay competition sponsored by Meridian Community College, read excerpts from their work.
Kaitlin Jackson represented the 6th grade, and Brantley Smith, the 7th grade.