The Liberty Bell at the West Virginia state capitol rang out 35 times Monday morning in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In a ceremony on the north side of the capitol, Rev. Ron English, interim minister of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Charleston and a protégé of Dr. King, gave the invocation urging the crowd to keep the dream alive.

“And may it always be a charge that we would have to keep our resilient dreams alive in all that we do,” English said.

English was the featured speaker at an ecumenical service at the Asbury United Methodist Church and lead the march from the church to the capitol for the service afterward.

On hand was Dr. Jenee Walker of Charleston. She grew up in Compton, CA and says Dr. King was a major motivator in her life.

“There was no one with formal education in my family. And during the time of Dr. King, my parents inspired me that I could do anything just based on determination and work ethic because of this “dream” and who I am,” explained Walker.

Another woman who used Dr. King’s dream as a guide in her life is Dr. Carolyn Stuart, the director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs.

“When I look back over my life, I have to think of the struggles and challenges that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King faced and know that it is because of that, I am where I am and I am who I am,” Stuart said.

On hand for the ceremony at the capitol, the Appalachian Children’s Chorus who sang the National Anthem and helped ring the state’s Liberty Bell at the end of the service.

Rev. Robert Davis, the minister at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in South Charleston, summed up the importance of Monday’s ceremony.

“We not only have the freedom but the reality of [Dr. King's] dream.”


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    Have we overcome?
    I can remember the first time I really paid attention to the news footage from the 1960's showing Americans having dogs and fire hoses turned on them for no other reason than the color of their skin was not the same as those holding the dogs or the hoses.
    Dr. King was alot of things but first he was a minister of God's word. Was he perfect? No but whom among us is? It has been almost 45 years since his death and this year we will mark the 50th year since his "I have a dream" speech that was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Such a fitting place for such a fitting speech. In my opinion one of the greatest speeches ever to proceed out of an Americans mouth.
    What he addressed that day was one of the founding principles that this country was founded on. That all men are created equal. He being a minister was trying to get people to see each other through Gods eyes. When God looks on us He sees a human being, not a white man or a black man, not a Jew or a Gentile but a human being in need of His help.
    Have we overcome? Dr. King spoke of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character not the color of their skin. While I feel we have made great strides in that direction, we still haven't made it to "The promised Land" that Dr. King spoke of on the night before his death. Yes, we have a Bi-racial President and women and minorities have risen to the highest positions in politics, industry, entertainment and sports but is that what Dr. King was wanting? I don't think it was. Until we Americans, black, white, Lationo ad native American are judged by the content of our character instead of the color of our skin, it doesn't matter what we may accomplish as individuals.
    I also think the closest we as a society have ever came to seeing one and other through God's eyes was in the moments right after the twin towers fell. On that tragic day in September 2001, all those surviors around what is now called Ground Zero, were covered in the dust from the towers. Watching on television we could not tell who was black or white or Jewish or Muslim. Neither could those there who reached down to help someone try to get to safety, Jewish man reaches out to help a Muslim man and Protestant helps a Catholic and so on. We saw Americans that day not white people and black people or Jews or Gentiles.
    That is "The Dream" Dr. King spoke of a half century ago. When is the last time you did something for someone without expecting anything in return? If you are like me, its been awhile ! We haven't made to "The Promised Land" yet but someday we might.

    God Bless