27th Annual Martin Luther King Day Parade - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/16/06

27th Annual Martin Luther King Day Parade

Crowds lined the streets of downtown Savannah today for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day parade. They are celebrating and remembering the life of the slain civil rights leader. Some say more people of diverse backgrounds should and could have turned out to honor what Dr. King stood for.

"I'm feeling pride and honor in this parade," said Geraldine West, who marched with King in the '60s. "It brings back so many memories, lot of memories."

And although she is not able to be as active as she once was, she says attending the annual MLK parade is the least she could do to celebrate the life of such a great leader.

"He came to Savannah many times walking these same streets with the marching and I've seen him several times during the '60s," said West. "We all was involved in the movement."

King affected people from all walks of life, especially here in Savannah. That's why some people say today's parade turnout isn't reflective of this.

"The diversity, I see diversity within the parade, among the participants, but regarding the audience and passers-by, I don't see much diversity at all," said Tonia Howard.

In this crowd of hundreds, minorities are the majority. "It's primarily an African American," noted Alan Wetzstin.

Attending this year's parade sends a clear message that some hope will stick. "You teach by example, so parents need to be modeling this and I have my son out here," said Beth Faris, who is white. "That's what they need to do."

Will Jones, 14, who is also white, says his parents told him to stay at home and watch the parade on TV. They were worried fights might break out like they did at the end of last's year parade. But that didn't stop Will. "Coming here shows you respect the day and what he did for our country," the eighth grader told us.

After all, part of King's dream was to unite people from all backgrounds. "It wasn't just a black thing," said West. "It was a unity thing."

Whether at home or in a parade, this is an opportunity for everyone to reflect and unite to honor the legacy of a man who's dream is being achieved gradually.

This was the 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Observance Day and parade in Savannah.

Reported by: Cheznee Johnson

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