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(WBIR - Knoxville) Knoxville united with the nation to celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.

The rhythm of Dr. King's dream marched to the beat of many drums and voices during Monday morning's parade in East Knoxville. Several miles of choirs, marching bands, and other participants sang the praises of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message in the annual holiday parade.

For all of the joyful noise, Dr. King's message is what resonates strongest with thousands of spectators, including Deborah Bailey of Knoxville.

"I just came out here to watch because this is such a good celebration. Martin Luther King. Who can forget him? He fought so much for our rights. You know, he's like a father figure. He was for peace. That's what it's all about," said Bailey.

"There's still a lot of wrong being done, but there's a lot of right, too. That's because of this man [King]. United we stand and divided we fall. His life was about unity for everybody, for the whole world," said Harold J. Hardy, Jr.

Bailey said she believes the message of Dr. King is now a dream come true.

"Oh, it has changed. Lord, have mercy, thank you for having things change. Because I see more freedom and there's not so much prejudice. We can go where we want to go and realize we are the same," said Bailey. "This parade and this event is important because it brings unity and because we think about what his [MLK's] dream was all about."

While Bailey believes the dream has been achieved in many ways, she also said it is vital to continue celebrating and educating future generations about the message of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It's still important because you don't want to forget. Your children are going to hear about it in history and they will know how we progressed," said Bailey.

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