Topeka A federal appeals court judge urged Kansans Friday to honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr. by reaching for the dream.
"Laid before us is the ideal of who we must become to live out the real American dream," said Deanell Tacha, chief of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a Lawrence resident.
Led by Gov. Bill Graves and the Topeka Police color guard, nearly 200 marchers made their way from the Judicial Center across the street to the Statehouse Rotunda.
The observance honored the civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
State offices will be closed Monday in observance of the King holiday.
"Doctor King's dream is as relevant today as ever," Graves said. "The ideals of unity, diversity and cooperation should be included in all we do."
Tacha said the dream for equality and justice for all was not like the clouds floating across the prairies. Instead, she said, the dream is real, it can be touched and it can be reached.
"The King dream is not the kind of dream that can fade with the light of the first dawn," Tacha said.
"Reach for the Dream" was the theme for the celebration. It was the winning entry in a statewide contest submitted by Topeka first-grader Forrest Evans.
The marchers and performers were representative of the state's diversity, with music provided by the New Dawn Native Dancers of Lawrence and the benediction given by the Rev. David Lopez of the Iglesia Emanual Bautista Church of Shawnee.
Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, tried to put the day's celebration in perspective.
"Martin Luther King the man is not the reason for this holiday," Haley said. "The reason is his life mission, his legacy."
Connie Graffred of Topeka said she attended King celebrations each year. She moved to Topeka from Tennessee where the slain civil rights leader's accomplishments were celebrated with weeklong activities.
"We have to remember the struggle and keep hope alive," Graffred said. "We have to follow through."