Variety of events held throughout the day

Cold, windy weather did not deter the reverence shown Monday for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and national holiday observance. The Mexico commemoration drew a small, but uplifting crowd. The local celebration started with a prayer breakfast at the United Methodist Church that welcomed songs by the St. Luke Church Choir, and the message was given by the Rev. Karl Thomas from the Second Baptist Church, who recited Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The prayer service ended with 20-30 of those gathered marching to the Audrain County Courthouse. The procession was led by the Missouri Military Academy Color Guard and escorted by the Mexico Public Safety Department. Marchers circled the village square twice before entering the courthouse for the noon program. Students from Eugene Field Elementary School entertained the courthouse audience with songs and winners of the Mexico Middle School MLK essay contest read their winning entries. Mexico Mayor Pro Tem Steve Nichols presented a proclamation, declaring Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, as King Day in the city of Mexico. Messages were heard from local clergy, a Chamber of Commerce representative and local veterans were recognized and applauded for their service to their country. The guest speaker of the afternoon program, the Rev. Fannie Sanders Johnson from Bracy Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis, addressed the audience about the necessity for change in the world, which ran parallel with the program theme, "Change Begins with Me." Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs gave the closing prayer. An evening program was held at the Second Baptist Church, featuring vocal presentations by the MMA Choir and other local church groups.