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Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington

John Makely / NBC News

The Martin Luther King Jr. Monument stands within view of the Washington Monument on the mall in Washington, D.C.

John Makely / NBC News

Latanya Rogers, left, and Kenyae Reese, right, pose for a photo during their visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

On Sunday afternoon as President Obama was being officially sworn in to begin his second term in the White House, thousands of people visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial nearby on the Washington Mall. 

John Makely / NBC News

Bernita King, of Los Angeles, Calif.. takes a photograph during her visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Kenyae Reese, who is from South Bend, Ind., but now lives in Washington, was able to describe the atmosphere as busloads of students and tour groups began to fill the space. "I think it speaks to the growth of the country and really of the world that we're standing here and we finally have a monument to recognize Dr. King. I think it's inspiring to our young people of all races. I don't think it's just an African-American thing.  I think its wonderful that we're able to have these celebrations as well, but I think it speaks to the character of our nation and all of us can celebrate and be a part of this. You look out and see people of different races celebrating, so we've come a long way."

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John Makely/ NBC News.com

Early visitors to the Martin Luther King Jr. monument take pictures.