National News

Locals to witness MLK monument dedication

Posted October 15, 2011 7:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2011 10:51 p.m. EDT

— Freedom brought thousands to the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1963 to hear the worlds of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I was here on Aug. 28, 1963, and I remember so well the march on Washington,” First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield said Saturday. “For our country now to celebrate this day is really special.”

Butterfield is among many North Carolinians who will witness Sunday’s dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.

“It’s going to be one of the greatest moments of my life…because of what he did and how he made things better for black people in particular, but for all people,” said Albert Walden, who traveled from Raleigh to witness the dedication.

Khalil Holland, 16, made the alone trip to Washington.

“I may not have been alive back then, but at the same time, I understand that all the liberties and civil rights that I have today would not have been possible without Martin Luther King and those who joined him in the civil rights movement,” Holland said.

The ceremony, originally planned for Aug. 28, was delayed as the wind and rain of Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast. It was rescheduled to coincide with the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March.

The 30-foot statue of the civil rights leader was carved out of the center of a single boulder. The outer pieces of that stone form the entry to the newest national monument. On either side, granite walls bear King's words. It is the first monument on the National Mall to honor a black leader.

President Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, will deliver the keynote address at the dedication.