A special screening of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was held in Times Square Wednesday on the speech's 50th anniversary. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
A small sliver of Times Square stood still as hundreds gathered Wednesday to watch President Barack Obama and then all 17 minutes of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. For many, it was an emotional experience.
"We've come a long ways," said one person. "Still have some ways to go, but we've come a long ways, and my grandparents, I don't know if they would believe it if they were here.
"Just to watch this and 50 years later, to see such a multi-diverse group of people standing together in this peace, you can't do nothing but love it," said another.
Times Square is often referred to as the crossroads of the world, and the speeches resonated for everyone in Times Square, whether they were from Australia or Atlanta.
"It's important in Australia as well," said one person. "We have our indigenous people who struggle with prejudice and, yeah, so it's an important message."
"It's deep, It's deep, and that's something that everybody needs to embrace," said another.
"It's emotional. For me, he's my hero," said a third. "I try to live his words every day of my life. It's something I was raised with."
Many of the youngest in the crowd expressed their gratitude for the hard work that pioneers like King put in.
"To kind of be here as a young black American who graduated from college, to kind of be a part of that, living out the advancement of Martin Luther King's dream, it's just been fantastic," said one person.
"It makes feel, like, nice, because now, now we've sort of changed," said another. "There's not much racism around."
Many others still say there's more work to be done, but a huge point of pride was seeing the president speak and reflect on King's legacy.
"To see this man speak on behalf of how many changes have gone on these last 50 years, which I'm certainly part of the legacy of, is very exciting," said one person.
It was raining and muggy while the speeches played on the jumbotron, but that didn't seem to bother anyone in Times Square, all of whom remained intently focused on the message.