The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, spoke in front of tens of thousands of people who had come together to witness a ceremony marking the civil right icon’s life and work. Obama in his speech drew similarities between King and his own effort to cause change during a time of huge economic struggle.
The National Mall, Washington, was the scene of the ceremony which was attended by many high profile names including Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder which lasted the best part of four hours.
The memorial for King was the first to any black man on the National Mall and on its parks, a location where the King delivered his famous 1963 ‘I have a dream speech’, and a 9-foot statue was erected in the icon’s memory.
The President was one of many speakers on the day with King’s own children and other civil rights leaders holding the attention of the people before he got his chance where spoke for 20 minutes.
This comes at a time when the heated 2012 re-election battle is hovering over the current President’s head, and with it Obama took the opportunity to get in some early blows against his opponents by issuing an assault on the perceived Republican obstructionism.
The ceremony which was due to take place on August 28 had been postponed due to Hurricane Irene was reigned destruction on the eastern states and as such yesterday’s ceremony had been much anticipated.
“In this place he will stand for all time”
Speaking in front of those thousands of people the President said: “An earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied. For this day we celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Juniors’ return to the national mall. In this place he will stand for all time. A black preacher with no official rank or title who stirred our conscious.”