Barbara Salerno just returned from Washington D.C. and provides us with this update:
My son and his family live in Bethesda, Maryland. My daughter Michelle and I just happened to be visiting them when we found out that the first showing to the public of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall would be at 11 AM on Monday, August 22, 2011. Michelle, Joe and Joey, my seven year old grandson, were among the first 100 to be allowed into the area. The memorial, sits on 4 acres overlooking the Tidal Basin. What an amazing sculpture it is!!! The King "Stone of Hope" sculpture is huge - 30' high and is made up of 159 blocks of white granite. The $120 million creation has been at least 15 years in the making. Excerpts from King's speeches are inscribed on the walls on either side of the statue. So many people were in awe of this magnificent art work.
Barbara, Joe and Joey at the monument
There was however controversy that the "Stone of Hope" statue of King was sculpted in China by a Chinese sculptor out of Chinese granite and shipped to the U.S., where it was assembled by Chinese workers who were not paid for their efforts. Due to these concerns, there were protestors at this opening giving out flyers "2011 Look who's Tarnished the Dream." But, the first look at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial brought some visitors to tears as they struggled to explain what they were feeling.
Back side of monument