Storm delays Martin Luther King ceremony

2011-08-26 10:06
The statue of Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jnr Memorial in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

The statue of Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jnr Memorial in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The long-awaited dedication of a US national memorial to slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jnr scheduled for this weekend has been delayed due to Hurricane Irene, organisers said on Thursday.

The dedication - slated for Sunday, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech - will instead take place in September or October, said Harry Johnson, head of the memorial project.

"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," Johnson told a news conference.

Johnson said that the dedication would be "moved to a date yet to be determined in September or October".

"There are so many individuals who worked tirelessly to dedicate the dream, and make this memorial a reality," he said.

The nearly 9m "Stone of Hope" statue is a white granite likeness of King gazing off into the horizon, his arms folded. Designed by Chinese artist Lei Yixin, the memorial cost $120m.

Train service called off

Visitors enter through the Mountain of Despair, a huge boulder symbolising African Americans' struggle for peace and equality.

"In the words of Dr King, we must accept the finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope. With that in mind, let's remember the spirit of the memorial - justice, democracy, hope and love," Johnson said.

Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit the US East Coast on Saturday, slamming into North Carolina before heading north toward major population centres including New York City.

While Washington is further inland than a number of other cities, rail operator Amtrak has called off train service between the US capital and the South, and a number of coastal communities are already being evacuated.

President Barack Obama, the first African American US leader, had been scheduled to speak at the dedication on Sunday, a day after ending his vacation on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Organisers of the King memorial will still mark the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech with an inter-faith prayer service on Saturday in Washington, Johnson said.

The prayer service also saw changes as it was originally scheduled to take place at the National Cathedral, which suffered damage during a rare earthquake on Tuesday.

The prayer service will now be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America.

Read more on:    martin luther king jnr  |  barack obama  |  us  |  weather

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency towards setting your expectations too high which will result in disappointment. Try not to let your thoughts...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.