WASHINGTON – On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Friday afternoon, students from Watkins Elementary School in D.C. honored Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday by reciting his most enduring speech: “I Have a Dream.”
One by one, each of the 5th-grade students delivered their piece of the oration with the marble statue of Abraham Lincoln as their backdrop.
“I think if Dr. Martin Luther King himself were here, he would be proud of us,” says 10-year-old DeAnthony Taylor.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where King gave his iconic speech on Aug. 28, 1963.
He would have been 84 years old this year on his birthday, Jan. 15.
The students belted out the speech’s final phrase “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last” in resounding unison.
It is what they have been practicing for.
“It took a lot of practice every day for about a month,” says 10-year-old Nicholas Land.
The kids also sang “We Shall Overcome,” which was hailed as the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.
The National Park Service hosted the annual program.
“We take the philosophy and the guidance of Dr. King beyond an annual observance and make it a part of our everyday mission,” Principal Dawn Clemens told the crowd.
This is the 15th year that Watkins Elementary has taken part in the event.