16th Street Baptist Church bell featured in March on Washington - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

16th Street Baptist Church bell featured in March on Washington anniversary

Source: FOX News Source: FOX News

All eyes were on Washington, D.C. today for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Many Alabamians, including Birmingham Mayor William Bell were there to take part in the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony.

The visual centerpiece of the ceremony was the original bell from the 16th Street Baptist Church that hung in its steeple the day the church was bombed in 1963. Wednesday, it was run to remember and celebrate.

At exactly 2 p.m., the King family and three Presidents gathered around the bell and rang it several times. It was a picture and a sound that paid tribute to King's speech and Birmingham's place in that tumultuous year, something President Barack Obama referenced moments later.

"Through the loss of four little girls in Birmingham and the carnage of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, that flame of justice flickered...it never died," Obama said.

"If you could see the bell now with all these people gathered around to take pictures of it, it's just really symbolic emblem of what the Civil Rights Movement was all about," Bell said.

Mayor Bell was invited to attend today to represent the city and says this brought back a flood of memories.

"It brought back all of the memories of 1963, the struggles that people have gone through. And for Birmingham and 16th Street Baptist Church to be recognized with the ringing of the bell was truly an honor for a city that means so much to the Civil Rights Movement," Bell said.

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