Community members gathered Monday evening to hear testimonials expressing the continuance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message at the 2013 community celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at Faith United Methodist Church, 75 N. Sandusky St.
Marshall Rose was the keynote speaker. Retired director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Bowling Green State University, he gave the message, "Continuing Dr. King's Dream of Creating a Better World."
"We are gathered to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was only with us for a short time; at the time of his death he was 39 years old," Rose said. "We honor and remember his birth."
King showed great passion, wisdom and leadership, Rose said.
"Today, we could use his guidance to press on in this second term of this next millennium," he said.
Rose continued his speech with an imaginary letter written by King as if he were writing to people now.
"To the people of the United States of America and the nations of the world. It has been 44 years since I transitioned from your world. ... America has become better in many ways and worse in others," Rose said. "People either talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often. You can find the time to go to the moon and back, but find it hard to cross the street to meet a new neighbor."
"I implore you to make a difference and compel my dream into a reality," he said. "You will do so on the same day as the second inaugural address of President Barack Obama."
"Our destiny is largely in our own hands. It must be by our own energies and our own exertions. What you do in my (King's) name and in my memory can be measured by what is truly done to make my (King's) dream a reality," Rose said.
Students were recognized in the annual essay contest and read their essays.
Second-grader Abby Hoppes from Krout 2-3 Elementary School wrote, "Martin Luther King Jr. wanted black little boys and girls to play together and to spread more love, not hate."
Shay Olin, third-grader from Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School said, "Martin Luther King Jr. was a brave man that made the world a better place. He wanted people of different colors to be treated the same, but it is more than that. Kids are being bullied because they are different. We should not just treat people of other colors the same, but all people."
The other winners were Kylee Slauter, second-grader of Riley Elementary; Rylie Roggow, fourth-grader of Noble 4-5 Elementary School; Tai Nichols, fifth-grader of Old Fort Elementary School; and Patrick Pariseau, sixth-grader of St. Wendelin Catholic School.
Area individuals, businesses and educational institutions help sponsor the event organized by Tiffin-Seneca Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee.
Mary Hunt, a founding member of Tiffin-Seneca Martin Luther King Committee, died during the course of 2012. Memorials, to continue her work, may be made to the Tiffin MLK Fund.