Thousands Commemorate King's "Dream" in Washington

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 24 2013 2:50 PM

Tens of Thousands March To Commemorate Anniversary of Martin Luther King's "Dream"

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Thousands of people line the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial while listening to speakers at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday “under crystal-clear skies that set a new summer standard for perfection,” as the Washington Post puts it, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream” speech on civil rights. The march was both a tribute to the generation that endured abuse to fight for equality as well as a recognition that there is still much left to do, points out the Associated Press.

"This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration," said Martin Luther King III. "Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more." But the oldest son of the civil rights leader also said that “daddy is smiling up above, knowing that by your presence you will keep his dream alive.”

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He wasn’t the only one trying to strike a balance. Rep. John Lewis, who also spoke at the 1963 rally, talked about how he was “arrested 40 times during the ’60s, beaten and left bloodies and unconscious” but also called for those at the march to fight back against the Supreme Court decision that struck down the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Speakers touched on a variety of issues, including unemployment. But a constant theme of the march was the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman as many along the Mall carried pictures of Trayvon Martin.

See pictures of the march after the jump:

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People hold flags as they gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Thousands of people line the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial while listening to speakers at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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A man raises his fist in the air while listening to speakers during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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People gather at the Reflecting Pool to listen to speakers during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Rep. John Lewis speaks during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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People gather to listen to speakers during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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