Wednesday, January 18, 2012
honoring Dr. King at his memorial.
this past Monday was Martin Luther King's birthday, a national
holiday. and i was lucky enough to have been in Washington DC
for a good friend's birthday long enough to check out the new
MLK Menorial. i wrote a piece about the memorial a couple of
months back and hosted it here on this blog. i feel then as i
do now...but i'll get back to that in a bit. because being there
on that special day did affect me a great deal.
i have to hand it to the people who spent these past 20 years
working to get this finished. it's especially more significant
that it was completed under a Black president. Monday was a bit
cold...correction...BITING cold. i went with three friends and
we had to park all the way on the other side of the park near
the East Potomac River. let me tell you, it took me back to
being there for the Inauguration back in 2008. (that story is
for another time.) the path we took around the pond to the
memorial i would guess to be a mile and a half. we walked past
the Jefferson Memorial along the pond just as the sun was in
readiness to climb below the horizon. i can only imagine how
it's going to be when the cherry blossoms bloom.
walking up to the memorial itself, if you've got a soul, should
give you pause. it's a majestic sight, even though i could've
sworn it was bigger. Martin's gaze seems fixed right on the
Jefferson Memorial, as if issuing the declaration that a new
day and a new America was here. there was one shot i took (see
above) of a father and his young daughter. there were so many
children there. so many elders. i saw one older woman, who
looked as if it pained her to even stand up straight. but she
stood right in front of Martin's statue, and kept staring at
it with a wistful look in her eyes. the energy in the air was
part prideful, part reflective. and somewhat restless. key quotes
of Dr. King sat in polished marble along the back wall. the
sun made everything just..SHINE. it was as if he was looking
down with some appreciation.
of course, there were a few rare moments where people's words
and actions threw a dash of salt on the sweetness of the moment.
one young cat, part of a group, kept throwing himself on the
wall in front of a quotation clowning around. it took a look
of pure razors from an elder brother to get him to move. one
guy walked past me and said loudly, 'i did not know he went to
Norway!!' *insert blank stare here* overall though, it was a
great experience just being there.
i still stand by what i wrote in that poem. i think Dr. King
would've been honored by this memorial if he were alive but
i also truly feel he would experience a bit of emptiness with
it. we are still grappling with the deep-seated tentacles of
racism in this country. the economy is hurting, the numbers of
the poor are growing. i think Dr. King wouldn't have rested on
his laurels. and i hope i'm not the only one who sees it that
way. in any event, if you're in the nation's capital, please
check out the MLK Memorial. it will leave a mark on you.