LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas has a statistic to be proud of. Monday's "Day of Service" event was the largest of its kind in the country.
Harrison high school students, Skyler Caldwell and Christian Gillies, attended the event. They hope to find ways to keep Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy alive in the future.
"It is great to look back on history and what he's done, but to really look forward and try to make our society a better place," said Gillies. "Continuing on that dream that he had and capitalizing on what he did and better our own future as a society," said Caldwell.
Monday's event brought together state and city leaders and a variety of races and faiths to celebrate Dr. King's life.
"It's just an opportunity for people of all different background and beliefs to come together, and talk about what we have in common," said Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin.
The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission made the event focus around volunteering, encouraging people to engage in their communities, not just today, but for the entire year
"It's a day on, not a day off. Yes, it's a federal holiday and folks get the day off to go ahead from work and everything but we want folks to get out and do something for their communities," said commission Executive Director DeShun Scarbrough.
The commission chose Eric Braeden, an actor on the CBS soap opera "Young and the Restless," to be the keynote speaker.
"You know how do you get folks to feel inclusive? You bring someone that has a civil rights tie you wouldn't have thought of, and use it as a platform to bring everyone out," said Scarbrough.
Braeden's speech focused around his experiences assimilating as an immigrant during the time of Dr. King.
"I see this from the perspective of someone who came from another country. Age of 18, as an immigrant with nothing in my pocket. But that experience is nothing compared to that of an African American," said Braeden.
Braeden said he's hopeful for the future, with the momentum of positive work from event's like this each year.
"Volunteering at a young age is great. And that's what I'd like to bring back to our community. If we can keep that moving on," said Gillies.
You can volunteer for the Arkansas MLK Commission year-round by clicking here.