Thousands gather in D.C., nationwide to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Attendees participate in an annual wreath laying ceremony Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial hosted by The Memorial Foundation in partnership with the Faith and Politics Institute and The Asian American Lead School at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Thousands of people braved the cold weather Monday in the nation’s capital and across the country to honor the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Actor Nick Cannon led the 11th annual MLK Peace Walk and Parade in Washington, D.C.. A wreath was placed during the sixth annual ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. MLK Memorial Foundation President and CEO Harry Johnson Sr. led participants in singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., honored King in a series of tweets, describing King as “my friend, my mentor.”

“He was like a big brother,” Lewis said in one tweet.

“He gave his life for us,” Lewis said in another tweet.

 King’s daughter Bernice addressed more than 2,000 people at her father’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and reminded the crowd to continue to fight for his vision “no matter who is in the White House.” Her brother, Martin Luther King III, is scheduled to meet President-elect Donald Trump later Monday.

The MLK Memorial Foundation posted on its website: “Today, more than ever, should be a day filled with kindness and equality that should be upheld throughout the rest of our everyday lives. We must always remember, ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’ ”

The memorial was among more than 400 national parks that waived the entrance fees Monday. The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday with 10 no-fee days.

King is the first African-American honored with a memorial on the National Mall and the fourth non-president to be remembered there. The memorial was dedicated on Oct. 16, 2011.

King, who was born 88 years ago on Jan. 15, 1929, was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968.


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