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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 08/29/2011

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial named 395th national park


Members of Alpha Phi Alpha gather for a private ceremony to inaugurate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, named the country’s 395th national park. (BILL O'LEARY/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Although Hurricane Irene forced the postponement of Sunday’s dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the storm didn’t keep the National Park Service from showing the site a little love.

On Sunday, the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the NPS formally declared the memorial America’s 395th national park.

“Welcoming this memorial to the National Mall honors a heroic man and a critical chapter in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

This weekend was slated to be a big one for the memorial, with events including a prayer service, concert and special tribute by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

But as Irene threatened to bombard the Washington area, most memorial events Saturday and Sunday were canceled, including a march for District voting rights, a “jobs and justice” march, several parties and the star-studded dedication Sunday expected to be attended by President Obama, which will be rescheduled for September or October.

For more on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, including a critical review of the site and an interactive guide for getting around, visit The Post’s full coverage page.

By  |  12:50 PM ET, 08/29/2011

 
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