Christine Stuart photo

The proximity of the inauguration of America’s first African American president was not lost on those gathered Monday at the state Capitol to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Most of us would like to celebrate tomorrow, but I will never forget the missed opportunity we had after Dr. King’s death in 1968 and the Million Man March in 1995,” Rev. Dr. Vance Cotton of Shiloh Baptist Church in Middletown said.

Christine Stuart photo

“Unless those who hear a great speech and implement, put into action what they hear, it is just a great speech,” Cotton said.

“But if we only hear Dr. King’s speech, if we only hear Farrakhan’s speech, if we only hear president-elect Obama’s acceptance speech and have no, no motivation to implement what they say, all that took place to bring us to this day would have been a failure,” he said. “Today we are standing on the threshold of something great.”

“We are at a pregnant moment in history,” he said. “Where God wants to speak to his people with a clear and concise message.”

He said whatever defect you might find in Barack Obama, “God is not through with him yet.”

“Connecticut the wait is over. It’s time for a change,” Cotton said as he urged those in attendance to be “doers.”

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman talked about being in Denver for Obama’s nomination speech at Invesco Field. She said as she looked around that night she saw thousands of people with “hope in their hearts.” She said Dr. King will be so proud as he looks down on Obama tomorrow because “hope is alive.”

“We still have a long way to go,” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. “For all the soaring rhetoric, we need to keep it real. We need to continue the fight.”

“Our nation is still flawed,” he added.” What we need is to pierce the urgency of now like Dr. Martin Luther King said.”

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz quoting Rep. Don Clemons, D-Bridgeport, said Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk and Martin Luther King walked so Barack Obama could fly.