DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – People across the country are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the federal holiday that honors the day he was born in 1929.

Thousands took part in a parade down Martin Luther King Boulevard and in festivities at Fair Park in Dallas.

For Darryl Blair, the parade was bittersweet.  “It’s bitter because my brother Jordan is not here. His hands are all over this,” said Darryl Blair.

Jordan Blair ran the parade for 16 years until his death last year.

Their father, William Blair, is the one who started it all, 27 years ago.

“It’s sweet because I’m able to carry forth something my father started and something my brother sustained,” Darryl Blair said.

For Blair, touched by the throngs of people at the parade, the day is not only a celebration of “the dream,” but also a celebration of “the reality.”

“It comes on a significant day when our president is being inaugurated and we’re celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King.

For Antoyrie Davis, a Lincoln High School cheerleader, it was a celebration of the man with the dream.  “His legacy was to stop segregation so we can be one as a whole nation,” she said.

Mibray Winn, taking video of the parade with his cell phone, hoped to share the images with the world.  “I’m going to put it on YouTube,” he said.

This year’s Grand Marshall, NFL Hall of Famer and former Houston Oiler Earl Campbell said he was honored to be in Dallas.  “I did not know out of all the parades, this one is one of the best. And, I think the people should be congratulated for that,” Campbell said.

The parade and festivities are said to be the fifth largest in the country. 250,000 were expected to attend.

There were those already waiting for the parade, hours before it started, on corners and in their cars.

One of them was Lee Mixon.  “It means an awful lot,” he said.

Mixon brought his teenage daughter.  “So she can look and try to learn something.  What it’s all about,” he said.

Like Mixon, many parents, who attended the parade as children, are handing down the tradition now.

Niesha Finley brought her two children.  “I can remember coming here ever since I was, like, six years old,” she said.

Her son Kadarian is five. Not too young to know about Dr. Martin Luther King.

Finley said, “He was a great man. And, I definitely want my kids to know what he stood for.”

Sean East explains it to his children this way.  “He helped us all become equal. He was a great man.”

The parade, which started at 10am, lasted for several hours. Festivities at Fair Park
also started at 10 a.m. and were supposed to continue until 6 p.m. but ended early
this year.

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