Wednesday August 28, 2013 | 02:46 PM

WASHINGTON – Maine Sen. Angus King on Wednesday channeled one of his favorite figures from history – Civil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain – to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech.

Speaking as part of Wednesday’s commemoration ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial, Sen. King said the crowd that day 50 years ago started as “small rivulets” but eventually grew into a “mighty river of people down to this place.” Although he did not explicitly say so during his speech, King attended the 1963 rally as a 19-year-old college student.

King said Americans rallied around a “radical idea . . . new to the world in 1776, tested in 1865, renewed in 1963 and an idea still new and radical today: all men and women are created equal.”

King then quoted from a speech that Chamberlain – a former governor and Brunswick resident, like King –  delivered decades after the Battle of Gettysburg where his 20th Maine Regiment had defeated Confederates in a pivotal confrontation.

Chamberlain had said that “in great deeds something abides” and predicted future generations visiting the Gettysburg battlefield would be enveloped by the collective spirit who fought there “and the power of the vision shall pass into their souls.”

“Fifty years ago today this place was a battlefield," King said. "No shots were fired, no cannons roared but a battlefield nonetheless – a battlefield of ideas, the ideas that define us as a nation. As it was once said of [Winston] Churchill, Martin Luther King on that day mobilized the English language and marched it into war, and in the process caught the conscience of a nation. And here today on these steps, 50 years on, indeed something abides and the power of the vision has surely passed into our souls.”



About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.