Local woman reflects on being part of the March on Washington 50 years ago

CLEVELAND - Cleveland's Mall A is hundreds of miles from Washington's National Mall but on Wednesday night those gathered downtown stood shoulder to shoulder with those who stood in the nation's capital earlier in the day.

The commemorative march was one of many held across the country to mark the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march on Washington.

In the crowd of hundreds in downtown Cleveland was Melissa Holmes who 50 years ago was a young girl from North Carolina who had traveled to Washington for the march.

"I needed to be here today," she said Wednesday night looking around the crowd. "To remind myself of how it was to have been on the Mall in Washington."

Her place in history was forever etched when a photographer from LIFE Magazine snapped a picture of her and another young girl she was with that landed in the magazine's edition chronicling what would become a historic event.

"They had the good sense to make us wear bibs that were red, white and blue," said Holmes of the colorful vests the two were wearing in the picture that apparently caught the photographer's eye. "We didn't even know we were being photographed because there were so many people there."

She would return to Washington 20 years later to mark that anniversary. She moved to Cleveland ten years ago so it was just instinctual to mark this silver anniversary here.

As she looked around Wednesday night, she saw as she did 50 years ago faces bridging generations, mothers holding children who will one day tell them about this day.

"It's very important because they need to know what happened, why it happened, why were doing it now. It's a beautiful thing to here," she said.

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