Marchers brave the cold to walk in the annual Martin Luther King Day march from the First Baptist Church on Continental Place through downtown Glen Cove to the Wunch Auditorium at Finley Middle School on Forest Ave. Walking together in memory of Dr. King's marches a generation ago, marchers were led by the Glen Cove Police Color Guard and Glen Cove Fire Dept. Honor Guard. Photo by D. E. Russell
The City of Glen Cove began its 19th annual celebration the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with its traditional march; men, women and children stepping off from the First Baptist Church on Continental Place, singing their way through the downtown and finishing up at the Wunsch Auditorium at Finley Middle School. Longtime supporters of the Martin Luther King Day celebration, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Mike Moran Division 8, are sometimes overlooked as they walk at the end of the march, but they are there every year.
As in the past, Sheryl Goodine, the mistress of ceremonies, began her duties alongside the marchers, keeping spirits up and feelings warm, reminding the marchers that "all we have to fear this day is the weather," harkening back to the days when the Civil Rights movement was in its infancy, days when marchers were greeted with insults, spittle, rocks, dogs attacks and fire hoses.
Inside the Wunsch Center, many more participants were filling the auditorium with feelings of goodwill and brotherhood and sisterhood as they welcomed the marchers. Mrs. Goodine, daughter of the late Jimmy Davis, longtime civil rights' activist from Glen Cove, welcomed the community and introduced honored guests. She encouraged the congregation to begin to tell the stories of the great Dr. King to our children at a young age, "lest history repeat our mistakes." Rev. Roger C. Williams, pastor of the First Baptist Church gave an invocation, Daven Plummer, a middle school student led the congregation in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Glen Cove High School Select Chorale led in the singing of The Star Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Black National Anthem.
The Honorable Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp, reiterating this year's theme of Stand Up for Peace-the Struggle Continues, remarked that peace is a hard challenge for these times, "but one [at which] we must work together to realize the hopes and dreams advocated by Dr. King." Calling Dr. King "an extraordinary man, a peacemaker and Nobel laureate," and thinking of the future as well as the present, Ms. Holzkamp said, "At the very least, we owe this to our children, so that they may thrive in a world without barriers based on race, color, creed or economic ability."
This year's celebration was resplendent with song, as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission had put out a call in December for all religious institutions to participate in a musical program. Besides the GCHS Select Chorale under the guidance of Edward Norris, musical selections were offered up by the choir from the First Church of God in Christ, the First Baptist Church Mass Choir, the Spotlights, Dolores Waller, the Salem Baptist Church and the Community Choir. Ashanti Opal Davis, a senior at Glen Cove High School, read a spoken word tribute as did Deborah Reed.
Speakers and singers had attendees on their feet, with hands clapping and voices joining either in song, or with an "Amen!"
A proud moment for the city came when Mrs. Goodine announced that the number one and number two winners in the Nassau County Martin Luther King Essay Contest were both seniors at Glen Cove High School. (See related story, page 3.) Kara Truzzolino, first place winner, and Jeffrey Ian Moore, second place winner, could not attend the ceremony in Glen Cove, as it was required they attend the Nassau County ceremony to receive their prize of substantial college scholarships. However, Glen Cove was treated to a reading from each essay by Mrs. Goodine.
The morning ended with a challenge from the mistress of ceremonies. Mrs. Goodine reminded everyone that next year is the 20th anniversary of the Glen Cove Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. program, and she would like it to be the biggest and best ever. She called on the clergy of every church in the city to "participate on the commission, to have input into the program, and to take an active part in the planning and execution of the program." And everyone was called upon to come out and sing. Joyous sound can linger in your head for hours after leaving the service, if this year was any indication.