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Ex-ranger guarded MLK; Recalls Historic Event


The former National Park Service ranger who stood beside Dr. Martin Luther King during his "I Have a Dream" speech says the event was a life-changing moment, helping him realize "everyone has unalienable rights."

Gordon "Gunny" Gundrum of Grafton,  says his assignment to guard dignitaries gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963 gave him a front-row view of the historic event.

The then-25-year-old former Marine appears in many photographs and newsreels standing close to King as he delivered his speech before a crowd jamming the National Mall. He tells The Associated Press Wednesday the experience of looking out over a crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands was "unbelievable."

Gundrum later left the park service and worked 25 years as New York state trooper.

©2013 AP

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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