Wreath Laying, Services Mark MLK Birthday

January 15th Marks MLK's 83rd Birthday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Tom Sherwood, NBCWashington.com

    Events are being planned across Washington to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Sunday would have been the 83rd birthday of the civil rights leader, and Monday is a federal holiday.

    The National Park Service held a wreath-laying ceremony at the King Memorial on the Tidal Basin Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama and his family attended services at the historic Zion Baptist Church.

    Obama, his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia sat in the second row as bright sunlight streamed through stained-glass windows.

    The church commemorated the day with a photo of King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the words "I Have a Dream'' on the program cover. A deacon welcomed the first family and read a passage from King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail.''

    The sermon by Rev. Keith Byrd came Chapter 5 of the Gospel of Matthew. The text includes Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, in which he describes his disciples as "the salt of the earth." Byrd urged the congregation to "preserve our morals, preserve our values'' like salt amid political, social and economic turmoil.

    Meanwhile, the National Cathedral will hold a special service at 2 p.m. Monday to celebrate King’s legacy with a concert and day of service.

    King delivered his last Sunday sermon at the cathedral before his assassination in April 1968.