SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dr. Martin Luther King junior was no stranger to Springfield or any American community struggling for racial justice during the 1950’s.

He’s honored every year, as he was this past Friday with a flag raising at City Hall, honoring the civil rights leader slain by a sniper at the age of 39 in 1968.

22News visited a local religious community Sunday, asking these men and women of God how Martin Luther King would have coped with the unrest threatening our nation.

“He was the type of man, even though the violence was there, he kept calm about him as he went through marches. He showed us the way to get through this, was to be peaceful,” said Pastor William Bayman.

“We need to retrain and rethink those values, so we can bring everything back to normal,” added co-Pastor William Bayman Jr..

22News also spoke with community member, Rene, who told us, “The first thing we need to do is show love as Dr. King did, we need to stand up for what is right and be a soldier for Jesus.”

As we honor the memory and legacy of the great civil rights leader, we turn to his lessons handling adversity and hope to apply them to America’s current difficulties.

A great deal to ponder as western Massachusetts and the nation looks to his example on the day set aside to honor what he stood for.