A middle-aged African-American gentleman from the District gave me that answer this morning, my question being, “What does the King Memorial mean to you?”
We were standing near the entrance. Hundreds waited in line for the 11 am opening, the first day for the public. Eight minutes late, the National Park Service let the first hundred or so through. By 1140, the monument area was full of people.
The King Memorial will have two entrances, the front one by the tidal basin, which was blocked today, and the back, where the crowds poured in from Constitution Avenue. I think the one we took is the best. The excitement builds as you pass by the two mammoths stones, Dr King’s front yet to be seen. Then as you get closer to his 28-foot statue, you look the left to see the Washington Monument, and straight ahead, the Jefferson Memorial and the calm waters of the tidal basin. Surrounding are the tall trees to give it a peaceful feeling.
There are some drawbacks to the memorial, mainly the location which requires considerable walking from Metro, no Metro buses stopping by, and when the planes from National take off to the north, the noise is distracting. But the memorial is nicely done, stunning quite frankly, and especially so today with the gorgeous weather.
I walked from the Arlington Cemetery Metro and would do it again that way. Passing by the Lincoln Memorial, or even visiting it, prompts you to think about the matter at hand.
He is with us now, however, on one of the world’s biggest stages, standing proud and tall, a mighty site for all to see, a ray of hope indeed.