Just Another Holiday?

Cities like the nation's capitol have been holding celebration parades since before Martin Luther King's birthday was declared a national holiday beginning in 1986, but while events such as this one for children are held at the Parkersburg Arts Center, the day is simply a quieter one than usual.

"A lot of people forget what the national holiday stands for," says Louann Johnson, an employee of the First Settlement Restaurant in Marietta.

"I don't think Martin Luther King, Junior did something for all the people," says Barbara McKenzie. "I think he did something for the black people, a great thing, but not for all the people."

But that's not necessarily the majority opinion. Others we spoke to see Dr. King's accomplishments a benefit not just for racial equality, but also racial unity.

"I think he had a philosophy in general we all need to follow; not just for the black people," says Rick Ralston. "A peaceful settlement to our problems, instead of other means of trying to settle them."

"I think his message is for everybody," says Diana Easley. "He was multi-racial, multi-cultural, and I think that's something people need to be more aware of."

Supporters have said the holiday should be called a "day on", rather than a "day off". Some people do get that message.

A formal celebration was held Monday in Charleston, preceded by a march to the capitol whose participants included Gov. Bob Wise.


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