On the 45th anniversary of the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "dream" speech to a quarter of a million people outside the Lincoln Memorial, a U.S. senator from Illinois and presumed Democratic Party nominee for president -- Barack Obama -- prepares to personify at least part of King's dream.
There's symmetry to it.
The reverend's words, which echoed on Aug. 28, 1963, still reverberate in the souls of those who attended the historic event. While many who were with King as he gave the famous speech have died, "Good Morning America," after months of research, tracked down a few survivors.
Gordon Gundrum was a 25-year-old park ranger who was assigned to protect King that day.
"He started speaking, and it was amazing. It was transformed from a type of perhaps festival atmosphere to almost religious," said Gundrum. He said, "The hair on the back of my neck stands" whenever he even tries to describe the day's events.
For decades, Gundrum avoided interviews about the subject, but now he says he wants the world to remember what King managed to do with just one speech that summer's day.
"What he did that day, I felt was very close to God," Gundrum said. "When I think of doing good things, such as charity, I think that is a result of the ideas that Dr. King had."
Civil Rights leader Theresa Walker vividly recalls how King's reference to the dreams he had for his four small children brought her to tears.
"It was my dream also. I had four children," she said. "Every parent or, especially a mother, wants the world and the country to be as good as it can be."
"But I had no idea it was going to have the impact that it did have," Walker, a former Freedom Rider, said.
The passage that stirred Walker's emotions nearly didn't make it into the speech. Some of King's aides thought it was too cliche -- in part because the civil rights leader already had given the 15-minute speech 30 times in the months leading up to the March on Washington.
"We felt that he used that climax so many times. It would be hackneyed and trite," said King's chief of staff Wyatt T. Walker.
Walker and others stayed up all night on the eve of the march to craft a new, dream-free speech. But when King surveyed the crowd, he threw out the new version and opted instead to discuss his own dream. It was much to the surprise of Walker and others.
"When he said, 'I have a dream today.' I said, 'Oh, oh [expletive deleted],'" Walker said. "It just shows how much we didn't know."
For those who were able to witness King uniting a crowd with a speech about a divided nation, the opportunity to see an African-American take the helm of his party as he tries to lead it into the White House is astonishing.
King would be the first to "recognize that our country has moved forward in a very positive direction," said civil rights leader Dorothy Height, who was onstage with King when he gave his most memorable speech.
"It just goes to show dreams can come true," Walker said.