President Obama, Congressman John Lewis, and Oprah all spoke today at the "Let Freedom Ring" commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Despite the rain, thousands turned out to hear them. Veterans of the 1963 march led today's demonstrators down Constitution Avenue to the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago today.
The scene this morning:
Which got a bit brighter as the crowd gathered.
Multiple generations of families watched the President speak.
And plenty of young people were in attendance.
Trayvon Martin's family joined the commemoration. His brother Jaharvis and mother Sabrina Fulton wore t-shirts honoring him.
Leann Rimes performed "Amazing Grace."
Congressman John Lewis, the youngest person to speak at the 1963 March on Washington, and the only living original speaker, said today: "We have come a great distance in this country in the 50 years, but we still have a great distance to go before we fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Sometime I hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress makes we want to tell them come and walk in my shoes."
Oprah credited MLK with getting the nation “to wake up, look at itself and eventually change.”
President Obama and the First Lady arrived looking stylish.
And here's Obama delivering his speech. He said Tuesday, "It won't be as good as the speech 50 years ago. I just want to get that out there early. When you are talking about Dr. King's speech at the March on Washington, you're talking about one of the maybe five greatest speeches in American history."
Obama met and talked with MLK's 5-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, after his remarks. She brought along a stuffed animal friend.
All images via Reuters and the Associated Press.