The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Today America got its first close-up look at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Although the Memorial won’t be formally dedicated until this weekend, it was opened to the public today.

The Memorial features a 30-foot tall statue of a standing Dr. King hewn from granite, as well as a wall with quotations, a bookstore, and dozens of cherry trees.  The Memorial is in a beautiful location adjacent to the Tidal Basin and about halfway between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.  Fittingly, it is in close proximity to the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King gave the “I have a dream” speech — arguably the most significant speech given by an American since Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

I think it is wonderful that a memorial to Dr. King has been included on the National Mall.  King was a profoundly influential figure whose words have inspired generations of Americans of all races and creeds.  He not only is the first person of color to be recognized on the National Mall, but also the first non-President.  Both of those firsts are long overdue.

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