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Speeches, parade mark MLK Day

Dr. Michael Wilson Sr. and Foster Kizer received MLK Community Service Awards. Shown are, left to right, Sandra Gray, Wilson, Kizer and Dr. Coleman Wallace.

Dr. Michael Wilson Sr. and Foster Kizer received MLK Community Service Awards. Shown are, left to right, Sandra Gray, Wilson, Kizer and Dr. Coleman Wallace.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech echoed through the walls of the Escambia County High School auditorium Monday afternoon, during the annual MLK Day celebration in Atmore.

Keynote speaker, the Rev. Phillip Brown, completed his talk by reciting the entire speech, inflecting and raising his voice at especially important passages. After his speech, participants in the program expressed their appreciation.

“I can say today that we have truly been left with a ‘wow’ moment,” said MLK Day presiding officer Dr. Bernard Bishop. “I hope that everyone here can take that moment and use it to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be.”

Brown, the chairman of the Alabama Minority Republican Party, also served as the grand marshal in Monday’s annual MLK Day parade.

During the celebration at ECHS, two Atmore citizens received MLK Community Service Awards, in recognition of the hard work they do to make the community better. The award recipients were Foster Kizer and Dr. Michael Wilson.

Brown opened his keynote address by reciting the lyrics from Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.,” including, “There ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the U.S.A.” He said that America is “the greatest country in all of recorded history.”

“Only in America, can the lowest of the low raise itself to the highest of the heights,” Brown said. “America is not great because it has nice people — all nations have nice people. America is not great because it has money … America is great, because it has freedom.”

Brown added that freedom comes from God and “must be paid for, and secured by, the blood of every generation.”

Members of the Northview High School NJROTC presented the colors, and Apostle Jimmie C. Wilson offered the invocation and opening Scripture. Sandra Gray, president of the Concerned Citizens of Atmore, welcomed everyone to the celebration.

Willie J. Grissett, chairman of the Escambia County Board of Education, led a singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and members of the ECHS band then performed two musical selections.

After Brown’s speech and the MLK Community Service awards, two more talented groups took to the stage to entertain. Exposé Pearls of Ivy performed several dances, and the Atmore Community Children of Unity Choir performed an inspirational dance to the theme of “Ringing of Bells For Peace — Let Freedom Ring! Choose Nonviolence!”

Awards were also presented for the top three floats in the MLK Day parade. They were: first place, New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; second place, Hudges Unique Touch; and third place, Empowerment Tabernacle.