ANDERSON, Ind. (Jan. 19, 2015) - For 35 years, Anderson has held a celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In Anderson Monday, Governor Mike Pence joined in and honored MLK's legacy. He told the audience it was Martin Luther King Jr. who made him the leader he is today.
"I have a dream today,” recited children as a part of the city’s celebration.
Inside the historic Paramount theatre in Anderson, some of the city's littlest leaders recited one of the country's grandest speeches, "Free at last, free at last,” they chanted.
All the while, the state's largest leader looked on.
"Dr. King was one of the heroes of my youth and his words and example inspire me still. We honor Dr. King in a number of ways. First we honor him as a civil rights leader who's courage, who's eloquence, who's leadership inspired a movement and transformed a nation,” said Governor Mike Pence.
Pence joined in the city's 35th annual MLK celebration, to pay tribute to the civil rights icon that shaped the United States.
"We honor Dr. King on this national holiday all across the state of Indiana and all across America because quite simply he was a great American leader. He was a man who took the words of our founders to heart and he forged a more perfect union,” he said.
"This is a struggle that is historical in nature, that it's not over and that we have to continue to seek equality for all people at all times here in this great state of ours,” said State Senator Tim Lanane (D – Anderson).
Lanane pointed out politics, for the career politicians that participated, were noticeably absent from the day’s events.
"It's about striving to come together as a community, as a state, and as a nation,” he said.
"We kind of missed him, so it was like him coming home today to be a part of this celebration,” said Floyd Edwards, Anderson’s MLK event organizer.
As Anderson's Congressman, Pence was always a part of the three decade long tradition. He was back Monday as the state's CEO, to continue Anderson’s heritage of honor.
"Let's do our part, in our time, in this community and in this state to forge a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all. Thank you very much and God Bless you… It's a great, great honor to be back with all of you today,” said Pence.
Organizers' hopes are that attending the event will turn into a tradition for future Governors of Indiana.