Fifty years ago, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. led a group of citizens to the Edmond Pettus Bridge, in Selma, Alabama on a peaceful protest march. They were attacked by state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. That “Bloody Sunday” incident proved to be a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, and last week, President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush joined 20,000 other visitors in paying tribute to the sacrifices of the Selma marchers.

Womble Carlyle attorney Chris Geis reflects on his own solemn 2003 visit to the Pettus Bridge in Selma in a new op-ed published by the Winston-Salem Journal. Geis, who also serves as a US Navy officer, notes that, “I had friends headed to that war, which would begin a week later. But, as I was traveling across the country, I wanted to stop and see the place where another kind of patriot’s blood had been spilled.”

This is the third op-ed Geis has written for the newspaper in the last year.

Read the full op-ed in the Winston-Salem Journal here.

Chris Geis concentrates his civil-litigation practice on the defense of local governments and public officials, especially law enforcement officers, at the trial and appellate levels. He practices in Womble Carlyle’s Winston-Salem, NC office.