MISSOULA, Mont. -

Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations took place from coast to coast to remember the legacy of the civil rights leader.

Nationwide the holiday has become a day of service and a time to give back.

In Missoula, hundreds of residents and city leaders met to celebrate King’s legacy.

We caught up with Montana men, women and children marking a national day of service as a remembrance to King's struggle to end racial segregation.

University of Montana professor Dr. Paul Gordon Lauren addressed a crowd at St. Paul's Lutheran Church promoting continued effort for king's vision of a better future.

"Imagine a world, and this is very important to understand, that can be better; better than it is, better than it was,” Dr. Lauren said.  “I never thought I would live to see the day when the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain fell, but it did.

Monday afternoon in an earlier gathering NBC Montana spoke with several residents at Caras Park who told us this day is a perfect reminder of how far we've come as a nation.  

20-year-old Vance HomeGun spoke encouraging youth to stand up and become leaders.

“Dr. King was a very positive young man and he only died in his 30s so he's a role model to us all,” said HomeGun.  “King made good positive change, he believed in people and he believed people are equal.”

HomeGun says anyone can make a change regardless of how old they are.  

“They can make change, they've just got to be good, positive people and keep moving forward,” he says.  

If King were alive today he would have witnessed the first African-American president sworn into his second term and although that's progress.  

HomeGun says the world still has a lot to learn and more progress to make.