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Leaders note Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan 22, 2013 - By Ben Neary, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's top statewide elected officials marked Martin Luther King-Equality Day with speeches on Monday that called on people to continue working toward realizing the slain civil rights leader's dream.

Gov. Matt Mead and First Lady Carol Mead walked with the crowd from the Union Pacific Depot, up Capitol Avenue, to the state Capitol.

"It's a day to pay tribute to this amazing man," Mead said of King in a speech in front of the state Capitol. He noted King had won the Nobel Peace Prize when he was 35.

King was 39 when he was gunned down in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. Mead said he didn't know what King would think if he were still alive, "but likely he would think that we have come a long way."

"Remember that Dr. King had a dream," Mead said. "And if you've heard that speech, hopefully a part of it remains in your heart."

Monday was the 31st year that the Love and Charity Club in Cheyenne had staged the march in King's honor.

Rita Watson with the Love and Charity Club told the crowd, "We must march on, rededicate and recommit ourselves to the road ahead."

Watson noted President Barack Obama was being sworn in for the second time on Monday.

"Will wonders never cease?" Watson said. "We have indeed come a mighty long way."

State Treasurer Mark Gordon, State Auditor Cynthia Cloud, Secretary of State Max Maxfield and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill also participated.

Gordon said that George Washington had said it wasn't so great that the nation had a first president but that the system worked well enough that power transferred smoothly to a second president.

Along those lines, Gordon said one of the great things about events on Monday, "is that we have the first black president for the second time."

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