Friday, August 26, 2011

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

With Hurricane Irene headed for the East Coast, plans for the formal dedication of the new memorial honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. are in flux.  The big gala has been cancelled and the formal dedication postponed indefinitely.  But while the dream of having the formalities co-incide with the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington (where King made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech) has been dashed, the dream of having an actual monument on the National Mall has been achieved.

Earlier this week, I trekked downtown to take a look for myself.  And to be honest, I can't say that it was my cup of tea.  The subtle beauty of the Vietnam War Memorial, the understated outdoor rooms of the FDR Memorial, even the graceful lines of the Jefferson:  that's what I like.  And so while I am proud that the National Park Service found a place to honor King and his message of peace, the monument itself feels too big, too crude, and too glaringly bright.  But who knows?  Perhaps with time and the weather, the stones will soften in appearance.  Or maybe it will just grow on me.  In any case, if you're visiting Washington, DC or especially if you live here, go on by and see for yourself.   And even if you don't care for the design, King's words, inscribed on the arching walls that bound the memorial, are timeless and inspiring.

 "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 

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