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JEFFERSON CITY - People of all backgrounds filled the seats in the bottom of SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital to come together to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service was one of many celebrations held throughout the city to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.

The guest speaker was the superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Sandra Karsten.

"This day is much more than the banks are closed and the schools are out. This day represents a man that shares his vision and his faith," Karsten said.

The theme of the celebration was "Unity in Diversity."

Patient Access Services supervisor and chairman of the event, Carolyn Jackson, said she hopes the young and old benefit from the celebration.

"We prayed about it and pondered about it," Jackson said. "With what's going on today is paramount that we need to have a message to deliver to everybody, so that they can benefit from it, so we can come together the way that Dr. King envisioned us to."

Karsten spoke about the accomplishments of Dr. King, her own experiences and what people must do to create diversity.

"We have to know each other. We have to engage in our communities and make sure that we have a relationship with everyone, regardless of their background, regardless of their race," she said. 

Karsten said people must unite in order to make a difference.

"We must move from being silent to engaging and communicating with others."

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