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More than 300 sites ring bells for MLK speech

WASHINGTON — Church bells were ringing out Wednesday at the National Cathedral and nationwide to answer a call from one of the most important civil rights speeches in history to "let freedom ring."

Organizers said people at more than 300 sites in nearly every state were ringing their bells to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Aug. 28, 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech.

At the National Cathedral in Washington, the central bell tower played "Lift Every Voice and Sing" from the carillon. The bells rang for about 15 minutes to mark the moment when the speech was delivered.

"I remember 50 years ago: the marching, the throngs of people, the speech, the energy," said Party Mason, 69, of Bethesda, Md., who was one of about two dozen people who gathered at the cathedral. "It was amazing, just amazing."

Commemorations were taking place from a mountain in Georgia carved with the likenesses of Confederate leaders to the far reaches of Alaska, where participants rang cow bells along and bear bells in Juneau.


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