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Posted at 04:18 PM ET, 08/24/2011

Earthquake alters MLK plans

The official Wednesday night opening event of the five-day dedication celebration of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial has been moved from the National Building Museum to the Washington Convention Center, officials announced.

The event, a gala dinner entitled “Honoring Global Leaders for Peace,” had to be moved because the museum suffered damage in Tuesday’s earthquake, according to Harry E. Johnson Sr., the president of the foundation that built the memorial, located on the northwest shore of the Tidal Basin.
The statue at the Martin Luther King Jr memorial by the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. in August 2011. (Marvin Joseph)

“Although the earth shook in greater Washington yesterday, our spirits are still strong as we kick off our...dedication events this week,” Johnson said in a statement on the dedication week website.

A 3,000 person interfaith service scheduled for Saturday to mark the opening of the memorial is moving from the Washington National Cathedral after the earthquake cracked spires that stand 300 feet above ground. The service will now take place at the Basilica of the National Shrine.

The formal dedication of the memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday. “We invite everyone to join us throughout the week and on the Mall on Sunday — come rain or shine,” Johnson said.

In addition to the earthquake, dedication organizers are monitoring Hurricane Irene, which is currently forecast to be centered off the Delmarva Peninsula Sunday. “We have a rain or shine event,” said project architect Ed Jackson Jr. “It’s too large a venue to move somewhere else. It’s got to happen there.” Tens of thousands of people, including President Obama, are expected to attend the ceremony on the Mall in the area around the memorial.

By and  |  04:18 PM ET, 08/24/2011

 
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