I am a 25-year resident of Arizona, temporarily living in the Washington area while my husband, a second-generation Arizonian, completes his education. As a parent of two elementary school children, I have found life in this area to be extremely stimulating culturally and academically.

On Jan. 12, without intent, as frequently happens here, I stumbled onto an event of significant social and political relevance: the Martin Luther King Jr. Time Capsule Implanting Ceremony. I was, as always, eager to get to the Metro (the Phoenicians could learn a lot from D.C.'s state-of-the-art system, but that is another tale) and home to meet my children's school bus. However, I heard voices singing and saw a crowd gathered just a short walk from the White House. I joined the crowd and realized the event was just one of the many activities planned in celebration of Dr. King's birthday. It was a diverse crowd, as diverse as America.

During the singing of "We Shall Overcome," I wondered how many similar opportunities would be available to the many young children I know in Arizona. Would there be adults and teachers who continue to teach and value the work of Dr. King in spite of the humiliation Gov. Evan Mecham has brought to Arizona by rescinding the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday there?

Through the many community activities planned for the holiday in Washington, my own children will learn how people can change their world; they will learn that peaceful resolution of everyday conflicts is possible; they will learn of Dr. King's dream of living with other people in peace and mutual respect. In today's world these are crucial lessons. I want to express my appreciation and respect for those adults who safeguard our democratic ideals by continuing to share Dr. King's dream, ensuring that our ''children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'' ROSEMARY HOOPER Rockville