MLK Memorial dedication postponed

Aug. 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene, organizers said Thursday.

Harry E. Johnson Sr., the chief executive of the foundation that is building the memorial on the National Mall, said Sunday's planned dedication will be put off until September or October due to safety concerns, The Washington Post reported.

"I'm really disappointed and really hurt," Johnson said. "But the memorial is going to be there forever."

The Sunday event would have been the culmination of a five-day celebration of the newest monument in Washington. Instead, an interfaith prayer service Saturday at the National Shrine of the Basilica will be the final official event of the celebration.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak Sunday at the dedication, with as many as 200,000 people expected to attend, on the anniversary of King's 1963 landmark "I Have a Dream" speech.

The memorial, which has been more than 25 years in the making, is located on a 4-acre site on the National Mall.

The $120 million memorial opened to the public Monday.

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