Fifty years ago this month, Reggie Tobias participated in one of the most famous marches in U.S. history — on his bike.Tobias, who is now 67, is a native Washingtonian and serves as the assistant supervisor for security at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he has worked for the past 13 years after a 33-year career with the D.C. Department of Public Works.Early on the morning of the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, Tobias and his three best friends bicycled down to the Lincoln Memorial. "We knew what was happening in the South,” he said. “We went to see what was going on. We were curious. When we got there, seeing all those thousands of people, it was amazing, all around the Reflecting Pool, all the way down. It was a sight I'll never forget."For the 17-year-old, venturing there around 8 a.m. not only got them a prime viewing spot. "We went on the right side of the Lincoln Memorial. That's where I met a lot of stars. I met Burt Lancaster, Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. I shook their hands. Burt Lancaster rubbed my head."The star-struck teen remembers seeing a lot of nuns in the crowd. From his vantage point, he saw the back of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s head. The youth was transfixed by the civil rights leader's dream of a world with "black kids and white kids in harmony and peace one day. That's what shook me."He remembers that after Rev. King's speech, the crowd "stood up and waved like this, side by side." He smiled and remembered his immediate concern at the time: "I had trouble getting my bike out of there!"He hopes the message of the March on Washington and Rev. King's dream will be taken to heart by Americans today. "We need to live it, you know," he told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese.Walter Robinson has lived a life where he has been faithful to the call of duty — to his country, his family and God.Now 92, he has worked as a security guard at the national shrine for the past 22 years. He had four children with his late wife, Adell. He has four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Over the years, he has worshipped in Baptist and Methodist churches, and now he feels blessed to serve at the shrine.On Aug. 28, 1963, he was 42 and working as a medical technician at the old Walter Reed Hospital. During World War II, he served as a combat medic with the Buffalo Soldiers Division, the nickname for the 92nd Infantry Division, an all-black unit of soldiers who fought as part of the 5th Army in Italy.He joined the crowds of people marching together through the city of Washington as part of the March on Washington, and stood among them as they heard Rev. King deliver his stirring "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."They kept coming in," Robinson said of the crowd. "It was my duty to back him (Rev. King) up. It was for freedom, and to update the situation of minorities and underprivileged people."The march and Rev. King's speech, he said, "touched me because of what I had witnessed, being in the Army. I was drafted. I went in there to fight for freedom."Now 50 years after that historic march, he said there is still a need "to bring people closer together," so people of different backgrounds can recognize the humanity in each other and stand together in the effort to provide more jobs and opportunities for the underprivileged.Two years ago, the national shrine hosted an interfaith prayer service to mark the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, and Charles Carroll Sr. felt blessed to be one of the Knights of Columbus serving as volunteer ushers then. In August 1963 as a 15-year-old, he had car-pooled with fellow high school students from suburban Maryland to the nation's capital, where they joined the March on Washington and heard Rev. King give his "I Have a Dream" speech."I get chills now, thinking about it," he said before the prayer service, as he reflected on the historic event he had witnessed as a teenager.Carroll stood along the Reflecting Pool 50 years ago with 15-20 friends from Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Md. "The way he spoke to people of nonviolence is totally different from the way people talk today," said Carroll, who noted how many young people today are caught in the web of violence. And Carroll also noted how tragic it was that Rev. King himself died five years later, the victim of the violence that the Nobel Peace Prize winner so often spoke out against.Now 65, he and his wife, Beverly, have three grown children and five grandchildren. He retired in 2009 after working as a mechanical engineer for the Arlington County government.The National Shrine usher said Rev. King was a man of God. "Faith is what kept him in the direction he was going," he said, and it was that faith that moved Rev. King to believe "we shall overcome."March felt like 'a homecoming'Fifty years ago on the morning of the March on Washington, Betty Stallworth said the major news outlets were predicting the march would be a bust."My husband (William) and I decided to go. I said I was going if I was the only person on the Mall," she recalled in an interview with the Catholic Standard.Betty Stallworth, then in her late 20s, had taken leave that day from her job as a correspondence clerk with the Department of the Army at the Pentagon.She asked a neighbor to watch the couple's five young children, and she and her husband headed to their church, St. Augustine — which has long billed itself as the "mother church" for African-American Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington — to join parishioners marching together down 15th Street.That day, Aug. 28, was coincidentally the feast of St. Augustine, and the parish had hosted out-of-town marchers and then held a special Mass before parishioners joined the march, walking behind banners representing the parish."It was a good-sized group," remembered Stallworth, who has been a St. Augustine parishioner for more than 50 years and sings in the parish's chorale. "It was a happy crowd, a determined crowd."The media's predictions were wrong. "When we got downtown to the Mall, there were people coming from every direction," she said. Stallworth even bumped into her aunt and uncle and people from her hometown of Savannah, Ga.She compared the crowd to a tradition that black churches have: an annual homecoming. "It was like a homecoming, everyone coming together."During the rally, her husband periodically lifted her up so she could see above the crowd. What touched her heart the most, as a mother of five, was near the end of the speech, when he talked about the future, "when little black boys and girls, and little white boys and girls, would join hands together.""The truth is, it brought tears to your eyes," said Stallworth, who grew up in the segregated South. "A lot of segregation is based on keeping minorities from having a better education. That's why I pushed, in my family, education.”She and her late husband sent all five of their children to St. Augustine School, and two of their grandchildren also graduated from the school.St. Augustine Parish traces its beginnings to 1858, when free men and women of color, including former slaves, established a school, to give their children a foundation of faith and a strong education for a better future. Today, St. Augustine parishioners continue to sacrifice to keep their school doors open for families.—CNS{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0823/march/{/gallery}