MEMPHIS — Wednesday is an anniversary most don't want to celebrate. It's been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated outside his hotel room in Memphis, just hours after giving his famous "Mountain Top" speech. It would be his last.
The civil rights icon is being honored across the country Wednesday for his life, his words and his deeds.
President Donald Trump paid tribute, "I ask every citizen to join me in remembering this great American hero and to carry on his legacy of justice, equality and freedom."
In the nation's capital, a special wreath-laying ceremony at his memorial. Crowds gather on the national mall for the day-long "ACT to End Racism" rally. From a church service in Montgomery, Alabama, to a rally in Memphis, where people from all walks of life commemorate one of the most tragic and meaningful events in American history.
"It feels like it was yesterday," civil rights activist and ambassador Andrew Young said. "I heard the shot and what I didn't see, actually his shoes got caught under here and it knocked him out of his shoes."
King's son— just 11 at the time— was watching TV at home.
"And it flashed across the screen Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot," Martin Luther King III said. "He lived and died in a non-violent way."
There were special tributes in the courtyard of the Lorraine Motel, where King took his last breath, is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum.
In Atlanta at his crypt, King's daughter, Bernice, says his message is still relevant.
"Now more than ever before we need his teachings, his principles, his steps of non-violence," she said.
This evening, bells will sound around the world, ringing 39 times, one for each year of Dr. King's all-too-short life.