A stone of hope….standing 30 feet high

Today was a crisp, sunny day in October. There was just enough breeze in the air for a light jacket and the sun was shinning bright. And on this beautiful day of fall, thousands of people gathered in Southwest DC to remember a king…our king…Dr. King.

After a one and a half delay, today, America celebrated the dedication of the National Mall’s newest statue…Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memorial…and I was there. Back in August, during the weekend of MLK’s “I have a dream” anniversary, Hurricane Irene ripped through the area and the original ceremony was canceled.

But this time, nothing could stop this ceremony. Early this morning, thousands of people made their way to the monument to witness history…the dedication of the first monument for an American who was NOT a president and for a man who stood for so much!

This was taken the first time I saw the memorial back in August.

The event was a flashback to Obama’s inauguration which I had the opportunity to attend with my entire family back in 2009 because there was a TON of people but so many different ones. It was such a great feeling to be standing with all kinds of people from young and old, to all colors….black, white, brown, blue, green, yellow, you name it and it was here and that was a great feeling. And I think a great touch was the sea of white hats that filled the viewing area because everyone was given a free hat as a souvenir for the event.

It was also an amazing lineup of speakers from Dr. King’s children, legendary greats like Nikki Giovanni, Dianne Carroll, and Cicely Tyson to political figures such as Rev.  Al Sharpton, John Lewis and of course, President Barack Obama.

And to tell this reviving story of the MLK dedication ceremony, I thought it would be interesting to show you how I experienced the event…moment by moment…via my Twitter posts. Weird, yes, but I documented the whole experience via social media and it was also good practice for my tweet reporting because believe it or not, that will probably became another side to reporting soon…But that’s another blog post.

Anywho…the MLK ceremony experience….from my eyes and my iPhone!

kgarriss11 Early, chilly morning in the DMV…heading into the district for the #dedicatemlk ceremony. #MLK

kgarriss11 This is going to be good! Witnessing history! @MLKMemorial #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 This is no where near the number of people who were at the inauguration but it’s still a lot to #dedicatemlk

This is the view from where I was standing…and there were hundreds behind me too.

kgarriss11 Dr. King’s daughter shares her thoughts about the memorial and how her mother helped pave the way for his remembrance. #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11“what we’re seeing today is an explosion of freedom” #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 “let us walk together…let us struggle together…pray together children!!” Bernice King #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 MLK, III reflects on the words of his father and the current events of today. “the beliefs of his father” he says.

kgarriss11“We’ve lost our souls..,” MLK, III is out here preaching! #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 Mary Mary hit the stage during the #dedicatemlk ceremony!

No need to explain, the jumbotron screen didn’t show up well in any of my pictures.

kgarriss11 “We have changed, we are a better nation” John Lewis #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 “They’re not using their minds, but their greedy behinds!” Ambassador Andrew Young #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11RT: “@theGrio: What does the #MLKdedication mean to you? Our society? Tell us! #dedicateMLK

kgarriss11 The crowd reaction just now was so priceless!! Lol

kgarriss11 RT: “@GeorgiaDawkins: DIANNE CARROLL looks amazing! “Standing here like a fool, in high heels at 77 years of age.” lol”

kgarriss11“We are going to occupy the voting booths” Al Sharpton #dedicatemlk

It’s the one and only Rev. Al Sharpton…up there preaching up a storm!

kgarriss11 The first family has arrived. @BarackObama will be speaking soon at the #dedicatemlk ceremony in DC

kgarriss11 The crowd chats “four more years” as the first family appear on jumbotron by the MLK Memorial #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11 And @BarackObama takes the stage along with VP Joe Biden and APhiA President at the #dedicatemlk ceremony. The President will speak soon.

kgarriss11 RT: “@theGrio: Interior secretary Ken Salazar speaking now at #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11Aretha Franklin takes the stage! #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11“Those foot soldiers for justice, this memorial for you as well” @BarackObama #dedicatemlk

Mr. President.

kgarriss11“Change had never been quick, change has never been simple” @BarackObama #dedicatemlk

kgarriss11The #dedicatemlk concludes with the singing of We Shall Overcome

kgarriss11 Oh wait Stevie Wonder takes the stage! #MLKdedication

So was the MLK dedication experience. Of course, I paused in between tweets to enjoy the words of those speaking but a had several people tell me (or should I say tweet me) thank you for live tweeting the event since they couldn’t be in DC to see it.

But it really was a good way to spend my Sunday morning. I could have easily stayed at home and watched the whole thing with a better view from the couch but I know I would have regretted missing this event especially since I’m so close to it.

My friend, Porscha and I braved the crowds to witness history.

And even though leaving the event was one big hectic, uncoordinated and unorganized event, it made me think…I rather be leaving squished between thousands of people than waltzing on through a few hundred because that means thousands of people wanted to come support this event, this monument and yes, this dream.

Today was a good reminder of the things that have changed and the things that have yet to change. I blessed to have witnessed this moment in history and not from a TV but from the ground, at the event with people who wanted to experience the same thing.

But no DC event could be complete without hundreds of vendors trying to sell T-shirts, pins, postcards, flags, hats…you name it, somebody was selling it with MLK on it in some way, shape or form.

Once again, I was thankful that the inauguration prepared me for these street sellers so I knew what I wanted and the price I wanted to pay! I was going to buy a hat for my grandma but since we got free hats at the event, I grabbed a second one so the next thing on my list was a pin. And I knew someone out there would be selling them for $1 per button and what did I find right by the metro but a guy selling MLK dedication pins for a dollar.

Yep, this was a good buy and only for a dollar! (P.S. this picture was edited by yours truly)

Lastly, I wasn’t expecting to buy this but a lady by the metro entrance was selling copies of the Washington Post with the special section cover dedicated to the MLK ceremony along with a cardboard backed poster of the Washington Post cover of Barack and Michelle during his swelling in ceremony from his inauguration all for the low, low price of….drum roll please… two bucks. So I thought, why not ma’am, why not. So I got a copy!

The cover of the Washington Post today.

So for six bucks I got two free hats, four pins, a copy of the Washington Post and a poster of Barack and Michelle…not bad for a day’s work in DC!

Not bad I tell ya, not bad!

Well, now you have it, my day literally moment by moment from the MLK Memorial Dedication ceremony in DC…truly another event that I’m glad to witnessed and yet another event I will be excited to tell my children and grandchildren about.

Until next time,

KG

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