Ronada Johnson was one of the lucky ones.

Some people who traveled to the District to pay their respects to civil rights icon Rosa Parks were not able to get close to her coffin. But Johnson, a high school student from Largo, did. She was among the thousands of people, young and old, who stood in the red-velvet-roped line this week to see Parks's closed casket in the Capitol Rotunda.

"Mrs. Parks's legacy will live," Johnson said, because she impelled people "to make sure that we help right the wrongs of society."

Springdale resident Alexis Nunley took her 9-year-old daughter, Ryan, to the viewing. They waited until 3:30 a.m. Monday to get into the Capitol. To Nunley, the long wait was worth it.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Nunley, a Navy engineer. "And I wanted my daughter to be part of history."

Many Prince Georgians joined the throngs of people who honored the woman who by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., helped spark the civil rights movement.

Parks, who died Oct. 24 at age 92, also was honored at a memorial service Monday at the Metropolitan AME Church in the District. Her body later was taken to Detroit for burial.

Many people at the viewing and memorial service reflected on the changes that followed Parks's 1955 action. Some said they would not have been able to receive the education or job they had if Parks had not refused to give up her seat.

Bladensburg Mayor Walter L. James Jr., 30, was one of the last mourners to make it in the Capitol on Monday morning before the viewing ended.

"One of the greatest things that we can do to keep Mrs. Parks's legacy is focus on education and bridging the gap between our senior citizens and our youth so they can develop a greater appreciation for where they are today," James said.

He added that he is trying to set up programs in which senior citizens share the stories of their lives with students.

"It goes back to how we have got from where Rosa Parks was then to where we are today," James said. Young people "need to have a greater awareness of their history and their legacy."

The Rev. Perry Smith of First Baptist Church of North Brentwood is equally interested in encouraging people to continue the civil rights work that Parks started.

"She is the mother of the civil rights movement," said Smith, a leader in the effort to increase the diversity of the county's public schools. "If she had not done what she did, we would have missed the opportunity for freedom and equality."

Rosa Parks's life is depicted on posters held by young people at a memorial service Monday at the Metropolitan AME Church in the District.