Hundreds of community members gathered at West Anchorage High on Sunday for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemoration.

"This is our future," Tre Bearden, who attended the ceremony with his family, said. "He's a civil rights leader and he fought for our rights for us to be equal and free and everything. So, it's very important to me."

The head of Shihloh Missionary Baptist Church reminded the audience, especially the younger people, that they should be the guardians of the dream.

"Each succeeding generation must be made aware of the cost of the journey to that generation, and in our generation, there's a danger of the next generation not knowing who Dr. King is," Rev. Dr. Alonzo Patterson Jr. said.

Lou Pondolfino, the principal of King Tech High School, talked about Dr. King's influence on his life during the event.

"I don't know if he was an athlete or not, but if so, I can only imagine what a fierce competitor he would have been," he said. "And, also, in my book, his most influential quality — Dr. King embodied goodness."

Many at the ceremony shared in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s hope for the nation. Tawana Earls, who also attended the ceremony, said she believes progress has been made over the years.

"We are equal, I think everything is equal," she said. "We are not as divided as we used to be."

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