By Ron Mott, NBC News correspondent
MEMPHIS -- It's a day of reflection. It's also a day of projection.
As thousands gather under rainy, cloudy skies at the former Lorraine Motel (now the National Civil Rights Museum), where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down 40 years ago today, people remember with fondness the hope he inspired and say they'll rededicate themselves to restoring the hope of his dream for the future.
There have been scores of events across the city throughout the week, featuring religious and civic leaders, eager to connect Dr. King's dream to a dramatically different world.
The plight of the city's striking sanitation workers is what brought Dr. King to this city four decades ago. On this day, sanitation workers marched again -- for him, for progress.
"We're still trying to get ahead," one marcher said.
Another explained: "We are still faced with a number of the same issues that we had in 1968."
Rev. Al Sharpton led what he called a "Reconciliation" march and rally, an attempt, he said, at updating Dr. King's dream for a series of new socioeconomic challenges confronting the country, particularly poverty.
Several of Dr. King's closest aides and confidantes are here, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Samuel "Billy" Kyles -- both of whom were with him the night he died.
Rev. Kyles said he didn't have any feelings to express then or now about how the murder of his friend and mentor affected him, adding, "You can kill the dreamer, but you absolutely cannot kill the dream."