CNN -- It was a historic day in Alabama. The city of Selma honored the 50th anniversary of the Selma riots - a turning point in the civil rights movement.
They came in the thousands -- people from all over Alabama, and the entire country, made a pilgrimage to Selma to honor the sacrafice of hundreds of protestors who were brutally attacked by state troopers in 1965. It is a day known as "Bloody Sunday."
Congressman John Lewis, D-Georgia, was among the leaders of the march. "I want to thank all of you who marched over the bridge on Bloody Sunday.. you didn't have to but you did!"
In the ultimate sign that their efforts made a difference, it was the first African American President who thanked the marchers for their contribution.
"We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof," President Obama said.
"All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children."
President Obama's comments were echoed by those civil rights leaders still working to make a difference -- like Martin Luther King the third.
"We are no longer doing voter education. I think voter education, along with voter registration, ultimately leads to voter participation."
A black president- speaking freely and marching across the Edmund Pettus bridge; a dream many thought impossible, especially those who were in this very same spot 50 years ago, under much different circumstances.