RALEIGH (WTVD) -- On Friday morning, people packed the seats at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens in Raleigh to honor King for the 39th time.
The service kicked off the series of MLK Day events that will be taking place this weekend.
RELATED: LIST OF EVENTS: Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. across the Triangle
"We honor him and his never ending call upon this land for freedom, justice and equality," said Rev. Kevin Seymour of Ebenezer United Methodist Church.
Through prayer and song, King's message of respect, justice, and hope lives on decades after his assassination.
"It is my belief that we can...that we can and we will go forth from this place with a renewed understanding about the mantle that we carry," said Rev. Frank White of Antioch Bible Fellowship.
Since 1980, the wreath laying ceremony has marked the beginning of a weekend full of events planned by the Triangle Martin Luther King, Jr. committee. It has become a time for many to remember that horrific day when King was assassinated.
More on ABC11: MLK Day Observance Program held at First Baptist Church in Raleigh
"When I heard that Dr. King had been fatally wounded, immediately I broke into tears," said Rev. Dr. James Forbes of Riverside Church of New York.
Indeed, this weekend is a time to take Dr. King's principles and values with us into the future.
There will be a youth summit on Saturday and on Monday there will be a memorial match in downtown Raleigh. For more information, you can click here.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wreath laying ceremony draws crowds in Raleigh
More TOP STORIES News