Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy MLK Day!

On my way home from work this past Friday, I stopped by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It opened in August of 2011 and I drive by it every day, but I hadn't actually been inside to give it a closer look. I thought it was only fitting to do so since today was MLK Day!

It's different from the other memorials, but it's a nice tribute to a great man. There are three large stones peaks, two at the opening and one with a carving of Dr. King. Several King quotes are etched into the surrounding inscription wall with two waterfalls beside the two stones that anchor the inscription wall. The memorial was designed to be on an axis between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, with the statue of Dr. King looking out over the Tidal Basin.

Memorial inscription with the Washington Monument in the background

entrance at the opening of the inscription wall

one of my favorite MLK quotes

the Jefferson Memorial

The Memorial is not without controversy-a quote on one side of the stone with Dr. King has received a great deal of criticism. It says, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness," which was a very loose paraphrase of what Dr. King actually said. The quote was taken out of context, and the Secretary of the Department of the Interior has ordered it to be changed after months of discussion and attention has been paid to the error.

Despite the controversy over the quote, it was wonderful to see a memorial to a man who has meant so much to so many people. It was freezing when I was there, but I watched a young lady who was also visiting moved to tears, standing still and just taking it all in. The monument was designed to convey four essential elements of Dr. King's message- justice, democracy, hope and love- lessons and a legacy that we all still benefit from today.

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