Remembering the dream
About 70 people gathered at the Haywood County Justice Center Saturday to show their support for the values, vision and leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The march through downtown Waynesville kicked off the weekend events in Haywood celebrating the national holiday — and the man that devoted his life to civil rights.
William Staley, one of the march planners, remembers King for his peaceful efforts to gain equality for all.
"The most important thinbg that struck me about him is not his longevity of living, but that if he could help somebody in some way or the other,he would do it," Staley said.
Rocky Tucker, co-chairman of the events, said Saturday march began five years ago, and gets bigger each year. The march alternates between Canton and Waynesville, he said, recalling that Canton was selected first because the town of Waynesville didn't observe the Martin Luther King holiday early on.
The message Tucker takes away from King's life was his belief that every person needed to be the best person they could be.
"He said, 'if you're a floor sweeper, be the best floor sweeper there is,' and I try to observe that in my life," Tucker said.
Mary McGlauflin said participating in the Saturday march was an extension of her belief for the need to live for things that matter, something that has also prompted her to become involved in the Moral Monday protests that surfaced across the state following new state policies being enacted.
"The thing Martin Luther King said that inspires me is that our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about things that matter," McGlauflin said.
Marsha Conley Miller most remembers King's quest for equality.
"I think when you have injustice for one, it is injustice for all, no matter what the issue, whether it is race, religion, gender or sexual orientation," she said. "I have my beliefs, but that the end of the day, everyone should go to sleep knowing we are all equal. He tried to instill that in everyone."
For Tammy McDowell, King's importance in history was his ability to bring about change.
"It is important to me that one man made such a difference in so many lives not just here, but around the world because he had a dream," McDowell said. "That's what inspires me."
Among those participating in the weekend events were 29 middle school students from Simpsonville, South, Carolina, who travelled to Haywood County to do mission work.The group stayed at Lake Junaluska and fanned out across the county to work at several sites, including STAR Ranch, a soup kitchen and help with the MLK events.