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King to be remembered on Monday

Many people will mark Martin Luther King Jr.’s 81st birth anniversary with marching, singing, dancing and speaking.

Although the birthday of King, the late civil rights leader slain in 1968, actually was on Jan. 15, Bainbridge and the nation will observe MLK Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18.

The special day of events will begin with a march/parade. People wishing to participate should line up at 8 a.m. outside the Decatur County Courthouse on Water Street in downtown entrance. Organizers said they invite everyone to participate in the parade by making floats, walking in the parade or riding bikes.

The parade’s grand marshal will be the Rev. Adolph Noble Sr., the pastor of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Bainbridge and of Patterson Street F.W.B. Church in Dothan, Ala. The parade will follow an opening ceremony marking Martin Luther King’s birthday, which will take place at 9:45 a.m.

Marchers will stop at Pilgrim Rest M.B. Church, for Rev. Noble to give prayer.

A memorial program honoring King and his impact on the world will be held at Hutto Middle School at 11:30 a.m. on Monday. Officials from federal, state and local governments will be in attendance, as well as clergy members, citizens, teachers, churches, parents and children.

Pataula Circuit Superior Court Judge Ronnie Joe Lane will be the keynote speaker.

King received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation through civil disobedience and other non-violent activism. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and a Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Holiday closings

Closed for MLK Jr. Holiday will be Decatur County schools, Grace Christian Academy, Bainbridge College, Gilbert H. Gragg Library, Decatur County and City of Bainbridge government offices. State and federal offices will also be closed, as will financial institutions.

About the speaker

Judge Ronnie Joe Lane was born, raised on a farm, and graduated from high school in Miller County. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1968.

He served as a officer in the U.S. Army in Europe and Vietnam and along with other medals, he was awarded the Bronze Star for combat service in Vietnam. He left the Army in 1973 to attend law school at the University of Georgia. He graduated from law school and was admitted to the Georgia Bar in December of 1975 and returned to the southwest Georgia to practice law.

He was elected judge of the Superior Court by the citizens of the seven-county Pataula Judicial Circuit. Judge Lane took office in January 2001. He also served as Juvenile Court judge of Seminole County.

He has been married to Harriet Lane for 41 years. Harriet is a science teacher and academic coach at Miller County High School.