A Rightful Place
groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall
raised many emotions Monday. It was an especially poignant moment for those who
had marched alongside King in his quest for civil rights for all Americans. A
country in which it was once legal for them to be refused service at a lunch
counter, to be forced to use "coloreds only" water fountains and
where they at one time didn’t even have the right to vote, was now honoring
this man who gave his life for their cause.
Bush said at the ceremony that the memorial gives King "his rightful place
among the many Americans honored on the National Mall." That place will be
between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It will feature a "mountain
of despair," which people pass through to the "stone of hope,"
inscribed with quotes from King’s "I Have a Dream" speech that he
delivered on the mall in 1963.
comments at the ceremony, King’s daughter Yolanda said "Our father was a
King, not the kind who wore a velvet robe, but one who was robed with a velvet
voice, a voice of clarity, conviction and compassion, a voice that even a
cowardly bullet could not steal, for his voice lives on in the hearts of all of
us who believe in freedom and justice for all.
father was a King, not the kind who made me a princess, but one who made me a
peacemaker, for he taught us that love is the ultimate healer. And where love
abides, there you will also find peace."
In this peaceful setting, many will find not only
healing but hope in her father’s words.
Hope that America will never forget
this struggle of many for justice and equality.