Sheila McNeill-Lee stood transfixed before the 30-foot statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It was pouring rain. Her thoughts raced back to her childhood.

The D.C. resident said she recalled her parents talking about the civil rights movement, but as a child the movement was something distant and hard to understand.

She said she gets it now and that is what brought her to the King Memorial.

“This reminds me that it was real. I’m here to honor my ancestors and Dr. King’s life,” said McNeill-Lee, now a minister at Restoration Temple Ministries. “It’s awesome but it’s also solemn because as a nation we still have a long way to go.”