We sat on folding chairs before dawn, in the still-dark. Abe Lincoln towered behind us. I felt the cold wind on my cheeks while I kept my arm around my grown-up daughter, to help keep her warm. In the distance, the early light silhouetted the obelisk of the Washington Monument with pink. We listened to a small orchestra play the prelude: A Mighty Fortress.
My daughter whispered to me: “Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech right here, you know.”
I whispered back: “We’re listening to Martin Luther’s hymn while we sit in the spot where Martin Luther King spoke.”
The preacher stood up and said: “He is risen!” and we responded: “He is risen indeed!”
Then we sang Crown Him With Many Crowns. A Navy chaplain led a prayer for our nation and those in the armed forces. At one point, all 6,000 of us sang Amazing Grace a capella.
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