Countdown to the March on Washington 50th anniversary

WASHINGTON - August 27, 2013

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, crews worked throughout the day to prepare for what will be an historic commemoration.

For those in town for the historic event, the memorial has been one of their first stops.

"I think it's going to be overwhelming," said Vivian Johnson of Drexel Hill. "A lot of emotions that will be hard to describe, but it's going to be great to be in the moment."

Action News found people from all over the world who made the trek to the nation's capital on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

It didn't take long to find a few residents of the Delaware Valley including the Johnsons of Drexel Hill.

"It's a very humbling experience just to think what people went through 50 years ago for the privileges we have today," said Albert Johnson.

As this nation remembers the struggles more than 200,000 people marched against in 1963 - civil rights, human rights, equality, jobs and freedom – it is fitting so many would stop by here.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial towers over the visitors who feel honored to be in Washington on the anniversary of his iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech.

"Very emotional and very exciting for a lot of people," said Robin Matthews of Germantown. "A lot of people have benefitted from everything that Martin Luther King did."

"I feel like I'm standing on sacred ground," said Rev. Paul Mast from Clayton, Kent County, Delaware.

Mast was a little boy when he saw Dr. King's speech on television.

Now armed with a copy of King's words, the Diocese of Wilmington priest told us his heart was forever changed that day, August 28, 1963.

"So I come to say, 'Thanks,' and I come to read his speech and in my own way in my own heart to say, 'I'm doing my own part to try to keep your legacy alive,'" said Mast.

The 'Let Freedom Ring' celebration starts at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday and will last until 4:00 p.m.

President Barack Obama is due to speak just before 3:00 p.m. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are also scheduled to speak, as are Caroline Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey.

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