MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication Postponed Indefinitely

The dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is being postponed indefinitely because of the looming threat of Hurricane Irene, the Associated Press reported Thursday evening.

Memorial Executive Architect Ed Jackson Jr. emailed the Associated Press a statement that no new date has been set for the dedication originally planned for Sunday.

The dedication will be rescheduled for September or October, News4's Jackie Bensen reported. The reason it was postponed Thursday night was to warn ticketholders not already in town not to come.

Saturday night's gala also has been canceled, Bensen reported.

Earlier Thursday, the foundation that built the memorial said it was still planning to hold the dedication Sunday. Foundation president Harry Johnson had said he was still confident that the memorial would be dedicated on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, the memorial was being prepared for the dedication, News4’s Tom Sherwood reported. The stage and large screens were being secured with double the usual ballast weight to withstand winds up to 90 mph.

Planners expressed concerns with moving the dedication to Monday because of traffic problems that might create and because of plans the thousands of ticketholders have made for this weekend, Kate Fee, of Hargroves Inc., told Sherwood.

President Barack Obama was to have spoken to up to 250,000 people, but Irene dashed the possibility for the memorial to be dedicated on the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered nearby on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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