Dedication of King memorial postponed due to Irene
The site of the 30-foot granite sculpture opened to the public Monday.
August 25th, 2011
09:15 PM ET

Dedication of King memorial postponed due to Irene

[Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET] Sunday's dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene's expected advance on the U.S. East Coast, an organizer said Thursday evening.

Harry Johnson Sr., head of the memorial's foundation, said that the last event of a series that had been planned for the weekend would be a national prayer service on Saturday. The dedication of the memorial will be moved to a still undetermined date in September or October, he said.

Johnson and other organizers had said five hours earlier that the dedication would go forward as scheduled. But Thursday evening, Johnson told reporters that foundation officials changed their mind, deciding to postpone the event out of concern for visitors’ safety, after consulting with officials and forecasters tracking the storm.

"The obvious reason why we’re making this announcement is to allow those folks who have not yet travelled here the opportunity not to come in harm's way," Johnson said. "We're also offering up the opportunity for those who are here, that if they want to try to leave, they can leave before the weather gets bad on Saturday."

"I remained optimistic all day. But Mother Nature is Mother Nature," Johnson added.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to dedicate the site, near Washington's Tidal Basin between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, in a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday issued a hurricane warning for coastal North Carolina, saying that Irene - a Category 3 storm pounding the Bahamas on Thursday afternoon - could be near North Carolina on Saturday.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which said the storm could affect the area with tropical-storm force winds late Saturday through early Sunday.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland and three other states have declared emergencies ahead of the storm.

The site of the 30-foot granite sculpture of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. opened to the public Monday. Groundbreaking took place in November 2006, and Sunday's planned dedication is timed with the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington, where King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Weather permitting, the memorial site will be open Friday from noon to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, Johnson said.

- CNN's Paul Courson and the CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.

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soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. s kel

    hahaha canadian I just read your blog. Ok your highest education was shown on here. Yep 3rd grade must be tough to be in for 9 yrs. Now free times over, go back to your cell with your other tattoted ignorant skin rick and remember spit it out after hes done with you.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    Hey SuzieQ how does it feel to be both the mother and aunt at the same time of your brothers child? Remember take a hoe bath to get rid of that "wet dog" smell you allways have with you, bye.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. s kel

    Cesar, im going to call again walking along the highway with just your klan hood on and nothing else ,blabbling about how you missed your chance of marrying kadafi. I mean, come on man, TAKE YOUR MEDS CEASER!!! Damn!

    August 26, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Trish~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey guys, will you do me a favor and visit HelpFaye.ORG , a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    August 26, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Moniker Lewinsky

    And I'm out of doughnuts.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Hello Mr. Saandyk.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Malcolm X did a lot of good things, even if one disagrees with some things he said.
    I use Malcolm X's phrase, "by any means necessary," far more often than I think of MLK's "I have a dream" speech.
    I find the MLK dream completely in line with Ayn Rand's Objectivism. I wish that free copies of THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED could be given out at the MLK memorial.
    He didn't have a dream of a welfare state.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. stanley

    Malcolm X was way cool. He was Speed Racers brother.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. michaelfury

    August 26, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Trish:
    I fight for my life every day because of what's called the survival instinct.
    Do you know anything about Charles Darwin?
    If Faye is sick and has financial problems, fortunately the USA has many social programs to help people like her.
    That is, unless she has too many assets–houses and lands, money in the bank, gold (hard to find gold), stocks, etc., in which case she does not yet need state assistance.
    If she's too well off for Medicaid and disability, certainly she doesn't need my help.
    You should visit her.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Good

    No actually I expect a man who preaches the word to live by the word. Any man who could sleep around on his wife so much after swearing before me that he will stay true to her is nothing but a fraud. Malcolm X may have been a criminal at one point, but he grew. Malcolm X may have been abrasive, but he smoothed out. King (The name stinks of ego) put on a good show, but behind the scenes when nobody was looking he was no better than the white men he was fighting against. I have more respect for a man who tells you to your face what his intentions are, instead of hiding behind a cross.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Good

    The reason God doesn't care about us is that we immortalize imperfect men in stone.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Good

    Typo *God* Not me.. lmao..

    August 26, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©


    'The reason God doesn’t care about us is that we immortalize imperfect men in stone.'

    Such as Mt. Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, etc., correct?
    Are you including
    Michelangelo's 'Pieta' in that?

    August 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©


    " King (The name stinks of ego) put on a good show, but behind the scenes when nobody was looking he was no better than the white men he was fighting against."

    That was his *name*.
    Of course he should have changed it just to please *you*, right?

    How unhappy must one be to take anything and everything and turn it into something bad?
    How unhappy must one be to dig deep into a person's soul to root out something that (to him) would nullify everything *good* that person has ever done?

    August 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
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