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Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday paid tribute to the civil rights leaders and activists who marched on Washington in 1963, saying that while the nation they envisioned has not yet been fully realized, “it is finally within our grasp.”

“Today, we look to the work that remains unfinished, and make note of our nation’s shortcomings, not because we wish to dwell on imperfection – but because, as those who came before us, we love this great country,” Holder said before thousands standing on the Mall. “We want this nation to be all that it was designed to be – and all that it can become.”

Holder, the nation’s first African American attorney general, joined dozens of speakers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in one of several events marking the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.