QUINCY -- The Rev. Jeffrey Green looked over the crowd that had gathered Monday at Bethel A.M.E. Church.
And fittingly, on the day that honored fallen civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Terry, a Quincy native who pastors Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Macon, Mo., issued a quiet challenge as his eyes moved across the sanctuary.
"Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great," Terry told the crowd, employing a portion of one of King's more memorable quotes. "We have to keep moving forward with his dream."
That was the overriding theme of Quincy's 33rd annual MLK celebration -- keep moving forward as a nation.
Monday's program was sponsored by the Quincy branch of the NAACP and featured keynote speaker Roy Webb, the superintendent of Quincy Public Schools.
Webb emphasized struggles of the past, present and future in support of King's "We must learn to come together as family or perish together as fools" message.
"We have some rough days ahead in this country, but I'm asking you not to quit," Webb said. "Rest if you must, but don't quit."
King was assassinated in 1968 at age 39, one year after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Five years before that, King's legendary "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., where he shared his vision for peace and equality before a crowd of more than 250,000.
"The battle for justice and peace is far from over," Mayor Kyle Moore said. "Dr. King talked about equality for all, not just one."
Annice Mallory, who is president of the Quincy chapter of the NAACP, spoke optimistically about the future of her city.
"Quincy is a great city," she said. "We care about our community, and we need to keep that spirit."
Martin Luther King Jr. Day always is celebrated on the third Monday of January. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King.
The holiday was first observed in 1986, and by 2000, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed in all 50 states.
"Dr. King understood we are not born with character. We learn it," Webb said. "We learn it from our parents, from our community."
Webb encouraged those in attendance to help create a better world and a better relationship with those around them by working toward King's goals.
"If you expect things to be given to you in this world, it's not going to happen," he said. "We are all in the same fox hole in Quincy. We are all in it together."
Quincy University professor and former pastor of the Unitarian Church, Robert Manning, gave the invocation. The Rev. Orville Jones of First Baptist Church provided a scripture reading.
The Rev. Tyson Parks, the presiding elder at Bethel A.M.E., led the congregation in "We Shall Overcome" and gave the benediction.
A second celebration of King's life is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Hannibal at Scott's Chapel United Methodist Church, 1815 Hope St. The Hannibal service honoring King's legacy was postponed Saturday due to inclement weather.
The Rev. Linda Spaun, who pastors Scott's Chapel church, will lead the celebration.