“It could have been our child,” he said.
By 9:45 a.m. the grounds between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument were teeming with people, some sitting on blankets and others in folding chairs.
Cheryl Reed, of Columbia, Md., said she was both hoping and expecting a large crowd.
“I was hoping especially for young people to witness history in the making,” she said. “They have to learn, even if they’re not in the classroom, about people like Martin Luther King and others with him.
Bobby Henry, 55, was a child when he attended the original march, sitting on his father’s shoulders.
“I was here for the 25th anniversary and now I wanted to be here for the 50th,” the Prince George’s County man said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Dr. King’s dream has still not been realized. We still owe it to those who stood and struggled and marched.”
The rally ended with a march along Independence Avenue past the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial toward the Washington Monument. Organizers urged patience as they coordinated the movement of the large crowd.
Beneath a glittery red, white as blue baseball cap, Helen Hampton maintained a serious face as she considered the rally.
“I thought it was good but it needed to be a bit more organized,” the Philadelphia resident said.
Metro reported that as of 11 a.m. ridership was at 108,400 trips − well over double last week’s figures. Tour buses were still making their way to the Mall well after the speeches began.
Police reported a minor accident involving three tour buses at around 7:30 a.m. The buses collided near the 1300 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, and seven people were transported to hospitals with minor injuries. They were all believed to be passengers on the buses.