Utahns commemorate 50th anniversary of March on Washington

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SALT LAKE CITY -- While tens of thousands gathered on the lawn in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., about 200 gathered at Utah's State Capitol remembering August 28, 1963 and reflecting on where they think Martin Luther King's dream stands.

At 1 p.m. exactly, the Capitol Building's bells rang out along with bells from churches and schools around the state, marking the moment The Reverend Dr. King began his most famous speech.

Pastor Harold Fields, President of the Intermountain General Baptist Convention, was sixteen years old and watching the March on Washington on TV.

"I tell young people you can go to a hotel and you can stay the night,” Field said. “My brother was in the military, and he had little children, and he had to let them sleep in the car.”

Pastor France Davis of the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City heard Martin Luther King's speech in person, though he describes it as something of a happy coincidence.

"I was a sixteen year old and just stumbled on the march," Davis said.

But having stumbled onto one of the key moments of American history, Davis said it was clear he was witnessing something momentous.

"[Martin Luther King] opened his mouth, and the opening of his mouth was like turning on an electrical current in a dark room and the lights began to bloom," Davis said.

Gov. Gary Herbert hosted the event, which was organized by the Utah Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs.