Crowds gather outside Lorraine Motel to remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - On the 42nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's death Sunday, thousands gathered at the motel balcony where he was assassinated.

For many, it was an emotional look back at a sad day in Memphis history.

Every year since King's assassination, thousands of people have visited the Lorraine Motel to reflect on the civil rights leader's life.

"Like he says, I have a dream, and it can be fulfilled," said Billie Dobson of Orlando, Florida.  "If there's a will there's a way."

Everyone at the site Sunday had their own reason for visiting.

"I'm on a cross country trip and this is one of the highlights of the trip," said Tracey Jenkins of Bradenington Beach, Florida, "to stop here and see a little bit of history and education at the same time."

The Lorraine Motel has been turned into a museum honoring the civil rights movement.

Kelley Bennett of Atlanta brought his children along to learn about Dr. King.

"He took the initiative to do something that a lot of people couldn't or wouldn't do," Bennett said.

A wreath was place outside of room 306 to make the exact spot where Dr. King was hit.

William Ross, a sanitation worker, said he was standing in the motel's courtyard when he heard the gunshot.

"I looked westward and see about 5 or 6 police officers running," Ross said.

Four days later, the retired sanitation worker marched with Coretta Scott King and many others who wanted to show their support for the dreamer and his dream.

Every year since, Ross has shown up with pictures and stories to tell tourists about that tragic day 42 years ago.

Ross said that while Dr. King may be gone, there will always be people eager to tell the story of the great leader.

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