Tomorrow the country celebrates the federal holiday honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Hundreds turned out at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the National Mall on his actual birthday today.
And visitors got a welcome surprise: his son, Martin Luther King III and his family were there.
Also present was Dick Gregory the legendary comedian and humanitarian who ran for president in 1968 following the death of Dr. King.
The National Park Service held a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial day, on the civil rights leader's birthday.
They knew they would have a lot of visitors there today, but what they didn't know was that the King family would be coming by.
Three year old Yolanda King gently paid respect to her grandfather on what would have been his 83rd birthday.
"As soon as she saw the memorial when we got here, she said, 'I'm not going to cry,'" her father said. "She definitely has a consciousness that I wouldn't have had at three years old."
Martin Luther King III told the audience not to forget what his father stood for.
"We have to remember to be challenged somehow to reach down into the depths of our souls, to identify the best of who we are," he said. "Because we are an incredible nation."
Visitors there to pay their own respects had no idea the iconic family would be dropping by, but many of them told ABC7 they were glad they did.
Martin Luther King III was asked for his feelings about the announcement that a quotation on the memorial would be changed. He said he just wants the context to be right.