Participants reflect during March on Washington

11:56 AM, Aug 25, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- After needing a little crowd control, tens of thousands marched on with purpose.

"So many gave so much and died so that I might be here today and it's my turn try to make a difference," a marcher said. 

"I'm blessed, very blessed," Reverend Joesph Lowery said who was taking part in the march in his wheelchair. 

People from all walks of life marched today: to the old pioneer civil rights leaders of our time such as Reverend Joseph Lowery who led the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycotts after Rosa Parks was arrested, to the very young.

Valerie Shackelford relies on them to carry on Dr. King's dream.

"I wanted to make sure my son was here. When the next 50 comes around he can tell his kids what it means to our history," Shackelford said.

In 1963, police were worried about riots and violence but the crowd of 250,000 marched peacefully. Fifty years later, tens of thousands are repeating history.

"It was iffy. When I came and saw so many white people were here, I was overjoyed and that's why I had to be here to say that we can work together and make it happen," marcher Esther Delaplane said. "It was one of the happiest days of my life. It's high in my memory, nothing competes. "

Eighty-nine-year-old Delaplane says she was inspired by Howard University students 50 years ago and decided to march. Today she retraced her steps.

"I was crying when I came in where I saw Martin," she said. "The emotions came back. I'm also very sad to see how much we haven't accomplished, what we dreamed in those days."

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