On the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial

We’re giving you a free ticket to the period and place of your choice: where do you go?

After a moments hesitation, I push open the door and step outside. The light is blinding and it takes my eyes a minute to adjust. As my vision clears, I see it. A sea of people. More people gathered in one place than I have ever seen in my life. I look around to get my bearings and start moving slowly, passing person by person. I look at their faces. Some seem enthralled by what is going on in front of them, others seem to not believe their own eyes. I see a woman crying but whether those are tears of sadness or excitement, I’m not sure. I push further into the crowd and see that each and every person is looking in the same direction. In the direction I plan on going. Suddenly my ears are overcome with a loud roaring. A combined shouting that comes from every person around me. But they are not shouting in hate. They are shouting in joy. People are clapping, people are smiling, people are here for a reason.

Over the din of the crown, I can hear one distinct voice. A voice that is addressing the rest of overbearing crowd. “–one day this nation will rise up–” I push closer to get a better view of the speaker. To maybe see their face. But all I can see if the backs of others heads. Heads moving and bouncing and unable to stay still. “–that one day even the state of Missis–” I catch bits and pieces as a feel the incredible need to be closer. My heart starts pounding in my chest and it almost blocks out the sounds of the people around me. “–transformed into and oasis of freed–“. As I push past more people, I can finally see it. I can finally hear it.

“This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” The people to my left and my right stand frozen. As if what they’re hearing doesn’t seem real. As if what they are witnessing isn’t really there. I look up towards the podium and I see him. I see him standing before a sea of people and changing their lives one word at a time. I start to shiver as his words envelope me. As they form around me and enter my soul.

“When we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at least, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last'”. The crowd erupts beside me, in front of me, and behind me. Their screams become one as they themselves do. A tear comes to my eye as I look around and see it. So many people gathered together for one single purpose.

I take a deep breathe, close my eyes, and let it sink in.

“I Have a Dream” Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.- August 28th, 1963.


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