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Smaller King memorial dedication scheduled for October

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A much smaller ceremony is planned for the rescheduled dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in October, officials announced Friday.

The dedication will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 16, with dignitaries gathered in the forecourt of the memorial itself and non-ticketed public viewing in the adjacent area of West Potomac Park, Harry E. Johnson Sr., president of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc. said in a statement.

President Obama, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, members of the King Family, and civil rights leaders are expected to participate.

The dedication of the $120 million memorial was originally planned for Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington. But Hurricane Irene forced a postponement.

The memorial, more than a decade in the making, opened to the public last month.

“We are very pleased that the Memorial is now open to the public and to date has welcomed thousands of visitors from around the globe,” Johnson said. “Due to the postponement, we are planning an event much smaller in scale but just as big in spirit.”

An estimated 250,000 people and a host of entertainment stars and dignitaries were expected for the original ceremony.

This time, there will be limited, reserved seating for the official dedication party inside the forecourt off Independence Avenue, the foundation said. Non-ticketed viewing be available west of the memorial. The ceremony will be telecast on large screens.

The West Potomac Park viewing site is now open to the public and tickets are not required.

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