Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication postponed
The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall has been postponed indefinitely because of Hurricane Irene, organizers of the event announced tonight. The dedication, which was to have been Sunday, will be sometime in September or October, officials said.
"In consultation with the National Park Service, the mayor’s office and FEMA, it is with a heavy heart and enormous disappointment that we announce that, in the interest of public safety, we are forced to change our plans," said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and chief executive of the Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc., in a statement.
Sunday is the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Organizers had expected 250,000 people to attend.
It's been a rough week for the foundation. The five days of planned festivities leading up to the Sunday dedication were supposed to kick off on Wednesday night with a Global Leaders of Peace gala at the National Building Museum, but the museum was damaged by the 5.8 earthquake that shook the region Tuesday. The event took place at the Washington Convention Center instead.
Although the organizers were upbeat about the change in venue Wednesday night, they are clearly upset that the official dedication will not happen as planned. But they are looking to King's words to help them through this time. The public statement ends with this quote:
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
-- Deborah Netburn
Photo: A man takes a picture of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: Jason Reed / Reuters