By Madison Miller
Dozens of people gathered at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Elm Avenue this past Friday to pay their respects to Dr. King Martin Luther King. Jr., and to remember that there is still more work to be done.
Lester and Coque Gibson have been putting on this event, as well as the candlelight vigil that took place Monday evening, for over 20 years.
“We do this to keep the vigil alive in the minds of everyone,” Ms. Gibson said. “It is to keep the memory alive and to remember where we have come from.”
Gibson got the idea of a wreath ceremony when she took her son to visit Graceland. Graceland is the former home of Elvis Presley and is where his body has been laid to rest. They saw all the wreaths that were laid for Elvis, and Gibson wanted to do something similar for King.
“We thought, why not do something like that to honor Dr. King?’” Gibson said. “That is why we have the wreath-laying ceremony and that is how it got started 20 years ago.”
Wreaths from the ceremony were given by Baylor University, County Commissioner Mr. Gibson, Second Baptist Church and state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson.
“The wreaths symbolize the dream,” Ms. Gibson said. “They symbolize that we still remember Dr. King and that we still honor him.”
Guest speakers at the ceremony included Anderson and other appointed officials. The featured speaker was Rev. Anthony Burrus, associate minister of Second Missionary Baptist Church.
“Dr. King and I grew up in an era where men had dreams,” Burrus said. “Of course, his dream was to bring all Americans together as one.”
Burrus had the opportunity to march with Dr. King in California. He said they shared the same dream and he wanted to speak at this event because of that dream.
“Baylor University, just a few years ago, would not allow blacks to even attend and now that has changed,” Burrus said. “We are making some progress, but we have got a long ways to go.”
Burrus talked about things that people need to do today to continue the dream that Dr. King envisioned and about what they have done in the past.
“This day tells me that you can kill the dreamer, but you cannot kill the dream,” Burrus said. “What Dr. King stood for is still here and this says that we are honoring him.”
Marilyn Banks, Waco resident and shop owner, makes sure she attends this event every year.
“When I think about the sacrifice that Dr. King made for all of us, how could I not be here,” Banks said. “It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and it is good to see all of the culture come out and celebrate.”
To Banks, the day means a day on and not a day off. She makes a point to do something for someone to make a difference.
“I think if everyone paused and thought about the peace that he stood for, we would not have all of the problems that we are having today,” Banks said. “That simple word, peace.”
The wreaths will stay in Martin Luther King Jr. Park until after the candlelight vigil on Monday.