Atlantans traveled to be in the place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders stood 50 years ago. Many believe now is the time to look at how far the country has come and to recommit to advancing the dream.
"I think Dr. King's message is as powerful today as it certainly was when he stood on the steps behind us 50 years ago," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.
Reed celebrated Let Freedom Ring with tens of thousands as the nation remembered the march, the man and the speech that changed our country.
"It's a powerful reminder that at the end of the day, Dr. Martin Luther King was reared, raised in Atlanta and really got his roots there, and from there a movement was launched and it changed the city, changed the state and changed the nation," Reed said.
Much of the message focused on realizing the dream, taking stock of where we are as a country, and working to advance the dream.
"I take away responsibility from the speeches. I think every generation has a responsibility to protect progress and strengthen the country by being inclusive," Reed said.
Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall has a special tie to this part of history. His grandmother marched on Washington. His dad was on Dr. King's staff. Hall felt he had to be at the Lincoln Memorial on this day.
"To now be a part of this movement that's pushing this country forward, it really is a testament to the progress that we've made," Hall said.
Hall represents the King Historic District. Hall believes without Dr. King's dream, he wouldn't have the opportunity to realize his dreams.
"We've made a lot of progress, and some people can't quite see it, but when you dig deep you see that we have come a long way. In this country I would not be a council member in 1963 in a city like Atlanta. There are big shoulders we stand on and a big responsibility we have to carry forward," Hall said.
The resounding thought from Atlantans and others, was they were part of history on the 50th anniversary, now they get to tell the story of what it was like to be here, 50 years later, still celebrating the dream, for decades to come.
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