Two hours before giving his State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Paul Patton delivered a keynote speech to a smaller crowd in the Capitol rotunda.
The occasion was the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday celebration, held 11 days before the state holiday. Many in attendance were drum corps students from Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School and statewide middle school and high school King poster contest winners.
Patton said it's important young people don't lose sight of what King stood for.
"As things recede into history and conditions that once existed in our society are eliminated, it's too easy to forget what we've been through," Patton said. "We must make sure America never forgets there was a time in our society when we refused to allow a large group of the population from having any practical opportunity to realize the American dream."
Part of what makes America great is that all people have the innate right to achieve to their maximum ability, Patton said, and "we're given every opportunity to succeed in our society through education, and the opportunity to live and work where we please. These are the strengths of our society, and that's what Dr. King fought and died for."
For more on this story, see today's State Journal.