BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore residents are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr with a parade and a day of service.

The annual parade started at noon downtown. Hundreds of people saw the parade from North Eutaw Street all the way to Baltimore Street.

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Most people WJZ spoke to said attending the parade is a tradition they plan to pass down for generations.

But it’s the message behind the parade which grabs Baltimore back to the very boulevard the celebration is named after.

“The day means a day of community, a day of service. It also means as a kid growing up in Baltimore, it means this coming together to see people perform and people celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Amara Sillah, a Baltimore resident.


Several roads were closed around the city to accommodate paradegoers, including Mayor Jack Young who was there with citizen — some with impressionable young eyes with their parents — taking in what’s being called a tradition expecting to never end.

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“I’m just trying to keep generation alive. My mom used to bring me out here with my brothers when we were young, so I just want him to see. This is his first parade actually,” said Baltimore resident Monique Burton.

Dr. King’s message of love, peace and equality is still being echoed today.

Also around the city, volunteers will honor King’s life with a day of service.

Civics Works will be hosting a day of service starting at 8:30 a.m.

In Ellicott City, thousands gathered at Glen Mar Church to honor Dr. King’s life through a day of service.

“We’re spending our day helping the community because it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we want to keep up his legacy of helping people,” said Kemonie Alexander Hare, a 5th-grade volunteer.

Helpers from ages five to 105 showed up!

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“It means a lot, it really means to see everyone come together- to see young people, middle age, the older people, the different diversity- to everyone coming together for a true cause, especially in a moment of today, where coming together is so important,” volunteer Ashanti Davis said.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said following the holiday season, a day like Monday is paramount.

“This is just a reminder that not just in November and December, but in January and throughout the entire year, we can come together as a community and look out for our fellow man,” Ball said.

Five-year-old Elijah spent his day out of the classroom Monday, doing what he loves the most.

“To make people happy is making me happy because I’m helping other people who don’t have anything,” he said.

Over 100,000 meals for “Terps Against Hunger” were packaged Monday by volunteers including Elijah, and will be delivered back into the community to local food banks.

“And it’s just nice to know someone will have a meal tonight or another day,” said 6th-grade volunteer Amanda Gary.

No matter what age, or walk of life- there was one common goal shared throughout the day of service, helping one another.

WJZ Reporter: “What are you most excited for today?” 

“Helping people that don’t have any food, anything, like to warm up, no food, I’m helping them, that’s why,” Elijah said.

On top of packaging 100,000 meals for the hungry, there were about 20 different service projects held at the church throughout the day, ranging from a blood drive to creating blankets and pillowcases and writing letters to service members in our country.

There are several other events around the city.

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Gov, Larry Hogan remembered King with this tweet: “Today, as we remember the life that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led, the message he shared, the change he fought for, and the dream for the future he envisioned, let us also embrace our shared role in changing Maryland, our nation, and our world for the better.”