Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary: Thousands crowd Selma bridge

Obama Selma 50th
A large crowd gathers near a stage where President Barack Obama will speak and then take a symbolic walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Selma, Ala. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

SELMA, Ala. (WIAT) – After President Barack Obama finished speaking Saturday afternoon, thousands of people crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on foot to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Joseph Young and his girlfriend drove to Selma from Florida for the special weekend. Young says his goal was to make this walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the 50th anniversary of the historical event.

“I drove across this bridge going to a football game in Shreveport, Louisiana. Something hit me that said, ‘I’ve got to come back here some day.’ And so, by the grace of God, I’m back here today to join in on this 50th anniversary,” said Young.

He says once he reached the midpoint in the bridge, something felt different.

“I can imagine what the people walking across the bridge must of felt. They went down there as peaceful as they could, then to be brutalized the way they were, there’s a feeling in the air. When you get to the top of the bridge looking down that way there’s a feeling,” said Young.

Dexter Peeples grew up in Selma and has crossed the bridge hundreds of times. On Saturday, crossing the Edmond Pettus Bridge was much more impactful.

“My grandparents and my mom marched across the bridge in 1965. So this is just a weird feeling, but it’s also a sense of relief,” said Peeples.

Peeples looks toward the future, and hopes that change continues for the better throughout America.

“We’ve come so far and 50 years but there’s still a ways to go,” Peeples said.

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