Athens Limestone MLK celebration celebrates students and a hopeful future

ATHENS, Ala. -- Celebrations were held in northern Alabama to honor the life and legacy of civil right's hero, Martin Luther King Jr. Many attended a march and program celebrating student's work at the Athens-Limestone Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration on Monday morning.

Echoes of our nation's past were heard through the streets of Athens as people of all backgrounds marched near the Limestone County Courthouse.

The day's events commemorated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who would have been 89 years old.

Following the march, a program was held to celebrate students who entered an essay and art contest on what they've learned of the civil rights movement. "They put their thoughts on paper, and they are able to share those thoughts will civil leaders, with elected officials, family, and friends. To me, that shows really what they are thinking about and how they want this country to move forward and not backward," said Benard Simelton, President of the Alabama NAACP.

Students in grades 2-12 shared their dreams for the country. Charles Harris, one of the award winners, says through King's eyes, he has learned the power of unity. "The way that he thought, and the way that he wrote and everything that he did, trying to instill this dream that everyone is equal and how we all need to come together for the betterment of the world," said Harris, an Athens High School student.

King helped open the doors to dreams and hopes that many thought they would never have an opportunity to see. "I'm encouraged by the words that I heard expressed from the students. You know, one little girl talked about how she wants to be president at age 35, and she has the year down."

Harris says he hopes younger students will keep king's dream alive. "Without them, we have no dream."