Many gather together in Ashland to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

, Written by RaeAnn Christensen, Posted in Local, Posted: Mon, January 20 2014 at 6:41 PM, Updated: Mon, January 20 2014 at 7:20 PM

At 97 years old, Ashland resident Bess Hamers didn't not march to Lithia Plaza to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. But back in 1963, Hamers said she actually marched with him in Washington D.C.

"It was the most amazing thing, we knew we were bus loads, but we didn't know how many bus loads the road ways were choked all headed toward the same place in Washington D.C.," Hamers said.

Decades later, she and hundred of others gathered at the Historic Ashland Armory to pay tribute to Dr. King's dream.

"It's marvelous to see that people have not forgotten that they get together and that they do things about conditions as they are today," Hamers remarks.

Organizers of the event say this year is a special celebration.

"It is the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and we call this a call to what we have done in the past and what we'd like to do in the future," says Volunteer Claudia Alick.

The celebration started at the armory with tributes to Dr. King through music, spoken word and dance. It was then moved to Lithia Plaza where the Rogue Valley Peace Choir sang and the historic speech by Martin Luther King Jr. was replayed.

A speech that Bess Hamers not only remembers, but carries with her every day.

She says "Martin Luther King delivered this fabulous address, which speaks to our hearts. I continued the rest of my life to with this interest, peace, justice, that's what we all want, that's what we live by."

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RaeAnn Christensen

NBC 5 News Reporter and Weather Forecaster RaeAnn Christensen earned a Bachelors degree from Weber State University, majoring in Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

RaeAnn started her career as a Producer for two local stations where she grew up in Utah. Working for the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, she won local awards for producing, and also became an Emmy award winning producer.

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