Wednesday marked the fiftieth anniversary of King’s historic speech and the March on Washington, a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement in America. To commemorate the anniversary, Governor Gary Herbert ordered bells across the state to ring at 1 p.m. mountain time.
Bells were heard in Utah and across the country on Wednesday, as the nation honored the legacy of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Governor Herbert also honored the state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission.
One the steps of the state capitol, the Governor said King’s words resonate all over the world to this day.
"That speech has inspired millions of people not only in this country but around the world. The dream of equality is something we still foster, we still search for, because we know on every corner it isn't there," Herbert said. "There are parts of this country, parts of the world where equality is not an everyday occurrence. So we still have work to do as we follow Dr. King's admonition in trying to judge people by the content of their character."
Also speaking on Wednesday was the Reverend France Davis of the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City. He was present at the March on Washington 50 years ago, and he vividly remembers the effect King had on the crowd.
"Somebody introduced the moral leader of the world, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He opened his mouth, and the opening of his mouth was like turning on electrical current in a dark room, and the lights begin to bloom," Davis said.
Moments before one o'clock the Calvary Baptist Choir sang “We Shall Overcome,” which was also the melody played by the capitol’s bells.
At one o’clock, Utah and the nation “let freedom ring.”