Young, old remember King
They've seen the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture in history books, his speeches have been etched into their memories and his work as a social activist lives in their conscience.
"I think he taught me that if you don't feel right about something, then you should speak out," Basehor Elementary School sixth-grader Chelsea Carnoali said. "I think he taught a lot of people to do that."
Along with the rest of teacher Meagan Folk's sixth-grade class, Carnoali decorated a picture of King and made her own "I have a dream" speech.
"It was for people to stop thinking bad about people because of their skin color or the way they look," Carnoali said. "People should look at what's on the inside instead."
BES student Natalie Freeman said her speech was similar to Carnoali's.
"It was about people that wouldn't judge other people because of their skin color because we're not any different," Freeman said. "Even if somebody looks different or dresses different you should look past it and see the kind of person they are."
Folk said she had the class make the decorations because King was an important figure in American history.
"He was a leader against inequality," she said. "Our students don't see inequality today. It was important they understand what he did."
Although there were no Martin Luther King Jr. day events in Basehor, the First Christian Church in Bonner Springs did have a celebration honoring the fallen activist.
"It's a special day in so many ways," Pastor John Walker said, pointing out that Martin Luther King Day is the only national holiday that honors an African-American, as well as the only holiday honoring a minister.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore said King fought for love, peace, tolerance, acceptance and equal opportunity.
"He lived for those ideas and he died for those ideas," Moore said at the ceremony.
Moore said children don't naturally hate each other and adults need to learn from their example.
Moore said he looks forward to a time where discussion of civil rights can slip into the background.
"I long for the day when we no longer talk about civil rights, when we talk about human rights because we're all human beings," Moore said.
Bonner Springs resident Cyndi Jeffries, who attended her third Martin Luther King Celebration, said King's goals will only be realized if people continue to work toward them.
"I thought it was awesome," Jeffries said of the event. "I just like seeing everybody come together."