BOISE -- Fifty years ago more than 200,000 people marched on Washington, D.C. to rally for equal rights for all Americans. At that march, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. Today, Dr. King's speech and the 1963 March on Washington were honored in Boise at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
The ceremony featured three, now Idahoans, who marched in 1963, like Yvonne McCoy. "There was no question about it, it was historic."
McCoy was just 15 years old when she marched and knew even then the importance of Dr. King's words. "I was moved to tears. I felt incredible hope, hope as I had never experienced before in my life." She also said it was inspiring to see the diversity of people at the march, with so many different races and religions.
Attorney Karl Shurtliff and Jack Owens were also at the 1963 March on Washington and spoke at today's ceremony.
"I marched to smash segregation," said Owens.
All three spoke about how far the fight for equality has come. "We've made incredible progress and I'm absolutely sure that it wouldn't have happened without that march," said McCoy.
They also spoke about how far it has to go. Owens, now an Idaho State University professor, said, "That's what the March on Washington was all about, to propel us into the future, not to stand in some particular time in the past."
"We shall overcome," said Shurtliff. "We will continue to climb that mountain. So, some day, some of you younger people, 50 years from now, will reflect on this day. Maybe then you will be able to say, 'We overcame.'"
Shurtliff, Owens, and McCoy all say it was amazing to be a part of history that day. But, they point out that it's not a history that's gone, rather one that continues to have profound effects on our country today.