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Entries in Memorial (26)

Monday
Sep122011

9/11 Remembered: 'Nothing Can Break Will of USA'

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama closed a day of tributes and memorials with a paean to the resilience of the American people in the decade following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, saying that "nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America."

Obama spoke of the men and women who have chosen to sign up for military service in the last decade, saying that too many of them "will never come home" from tours abroad.

"Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace," he said in his speech at the Concert for Hope in Washington D.C. Sunday evening.

Obama made it clear that the character of the United States has not changed since 9/11.

"These past 10 years underscore the bonds between all Americans.  We have not succumbed to suspicion and mistrust.  After 9/11, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion," he said, reaffirming the phrase on the Seal of the United States: e pluribus unum -- out of many, we are one.

"The determination to move forward as one people" will be the legacy of 9/11.  "It will be said of us that we kept that faith; that we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger," Obama said.

The president's speech came at the end of a day when families, rescue workers and politicians gathered amid a mix of tears, applause and patriotic cheers of "U-S-A" at 9/11 memorials in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks brought special ceremonies at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the planes crashed.

Obama laid a wreath of white flowers outside the Pentagon as a brass quintet played "Amazing Grace" Sunday afternoon, before he and first lady Michelle Obama spoke with family members of victims.

Earlier, Obama read a Psalm at the morning ceremony at the World Trade Center, and then arrived to applause and chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" at a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville at noon, where he and the first lady shook hands and spoke with many members of the crowd gathered there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep112011

Biden, Panetta Honor Pentagon Victims on 9/11 Anniversary

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Under a warm morning sky, about 1,000 invited guests gathered in a parking lot by the Pentagon Memorial on Sunday for an observance ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The guests were mostly family members of victims and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon, as well as some first responders.  Sitting among them was Speaker of the House John Boehner and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who left his office that day to assist with the relief and rescue efforts.   

In front of them was the Pentagon Memorial and the rebuilt section of the Pentagon that was a smoldering crater 10 years ago.   A large flag draped the building on the same spot where first responders had unfurled a large flag on the day after the attack.

The Pentagon Memorial consists of 184 benches aligned by ascending age to honor those who perished aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and inside the building when it was struck by the airplane.  The small pools of running water that lie underneath each bench were turned off Sunday as part of the morning’s moment of silence, timed to coincide with the exact time that the plane struck the building.   Alongside each bench stood a member of one of the military services holding a wreath of white flowers.  

Scheduled to take place at 9:37 a.m., the moment of silence actually occurred a few minutes earlier than planned.  The remarks that followed it evoked the painful memories of that day and America’s resolve in the face of such tragedy.

Vice President Joe Biden praised the inspiration the families gathered at Sunday’s event had provided to the nation that “hope can grow from tragedy, there can be a second life."

Biden said that what took place after the plane struck the Pentagon “was far more remarkable than the damage inflicted in the building behind me,” as Pentagon employees and  first responders risked their lives to help those trapped by the plane’s impact.

To applause he declared, “I can say without fear of contradiction or being accused of exaggeration, the 9/11 generation ranks among the greatest our nation has ever produced.  And it was born, it was born, it was born right here on 9/11.'

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised the families as being “the greatest monument, the most enduring memorial…You, the families, have shown the rest of us the way, quietly honoring the memory of your loved ones by how you live and what you do.”

He continued, “These are the things the terrorists could not eradicate. They could bring down walls, but they could not bring down America.  They could kill our citizens, but they could not kill our citizenship.  And in that spirit and with that pride, a whole new generation has been inspired to serve -- many of them in uniform.” 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also spoke of how since 9/11, a generation of Americans had “stepped forward to serve in uniform, determined to confront our enemies and respond to them swiftly and justly.” 

He said that in the last decade “they have taken on the burden of protecting America, relentlessly pursuing those who would do us harm and threaten our homeland,” ultimately bringing Osama bin Laden to “a fitting end."

The ceremony concluded with the servicemembers placing the wreaths one by one on the bench they had been standing next to.  As the last of the servicemembers exited the memorial grounds, a lone Army bugler remained to sound taps, bringing the ceremony to a close.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug312011

Maya Angelou Upset over MLK Memorial Inscription

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Poet Maya Angelou says the inscription on the newly unveiled Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial makes the civil rights leader look like an “arrogant twit.”

The official dedication to the memorial was postponed due to Hurricane Irene, but the monument on the National Mall is open to visitors.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Angelou took aim at the inscription, which reads “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.”  The inscription paraphrases King’s famous comments delivered at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968.

In February 1968, two months before he was killed, King said, “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice, say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.  And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

Angelou told the Washington Post Tuesday that the omission of “if” in the inscription changes the meaning of King’s words.

“The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit,” Angelou told the Washington Post.  “He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply.”

Angelou is a member of the memorial’s “Dream Team,” a group of celebrities who donated their resources and time to the memorial’s construction. She was also a personal friend of Dr. King.

“He had a humility that comes from deep inside. The ‘if’ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely,” she told the paper.

Angelou, 83, went on to say that the inscription “minimizes the man.” It is one of 14 quotes carved on the monument.

Emails to the King Center seeking comment about the memorial’s inscription were not returned.

The 30-foot-tall monument’s inspiration came from a line in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered 48 years ago on the National Mall during the March on Washington: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

Visitors can walk to the main memorial through the “Mountain of Despair,” a large rock cut in two. At the center of the memorial stands the “Stone of Hope,” with a statue of King on the far side, overlooking the Tidal Basin. Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King’s most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons and writings are etched.

But missing from the quotes lining the memorial is his iconic “I Have a Dream” line. The architects say they chose to not include the line since so much of the memorial was already based on the speech, and they wanted to highlight his other celebrated passages.

The memorial was 15 years in the making, beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial “honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” on the National Mall.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug252011

Hurricane Irene Forces Postponement of MLK Dedication

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Organizers in charge of planning the Martin Luther King memorial dedication have postponed the event amid concerns about this weekend's severe weather forecasts. Thousands had already started arriving for this weekend's dedication of the memorial when the event was called off.

With public safety their first priority, organizers called off the ceremony just five hours after they said they were going ahead with Sunday's dedication, which was expected to attract up to 200,000 people.  

President Obama had been set to speak at the event, but forecasts of heavy rains and dangerous winds from Hurricane Irene have halted those plans.

Event organizers hope to reschedule the memorial's dedication in the next month or two.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug242011

Hurricane Irene Threatens MLK Memorial Dedication Ceremony

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Celebrations scheduled for Sunday to mark the opening of Martin Luther King, Jr's memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. are being threatened by Hurricane Irene, as it moves towards the Eastern seaboard.

Officials watching the storm now say it could threaten to postpone or delay the dedication ceremony.  The storm, currently a Category 2, could reach landfall in the U.S. by the end of the week.

But the skies were still blue over Washington Tuesday as visitors streamed into the Martin Luther King Memorial as it opened to the public for the first time ahead of Sunday's dedication ceremony.

Nearly 50 years after his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall, MLK Jr's memorial in Washington is joining some of America's most influential figures carved in stone there -- Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Inspiration for the design came from a line in King's speech, which he delivered during the March on Washington: "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

"King becomes the stone of hope, so it's designed to be that he himself, the man, the image of King emerges from that stone that comes from the mountain of despair," said Thomas Luebke, secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal design review agency.

Visitors can walk to the main memorial through the "Mountain of Despair," a large rock cut in two.  At the center of the memorial stands the "Stone of Hope," with a statue of King on the far side, overlooking the Tidal Basin.  Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King's most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons and writings are etched.

But missing from the quotes lining the memorial is his iconic "I Have a Dream" line.  The architects say they chose to not include the line since so much of the memorial was already based on the speech, and they wanted to highlight his other celebrated passages.

The memorial was 15 years in the making, beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial "honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." on the National Mall.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the memorial took place on Nov. 13, 2006, and the dedication is scheduled for Sunday, the 48th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug222011

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Opens to Public

PRNewsFoto/MLK, Jr. Nat'l Memorial Project, Gediyon Kifle(WASHINGTON) -- In the early morning hours Monday, media from across the nation gathered for a first look at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

National Park Service and memorial organizers welcomed the media to tour the space -- some of the first unfettered access to the memorial before it is accessible to the public Monday afternoon.

Upon entrance, visitors will approach the 'Mountain of Despair,' a large rock cut in two, through which they can walk to the main memorial. As the memorial opens in front of you, the 'Stone of Hope' stands at its center -- with a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on its far side, overlooking Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin.  Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King’s most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons, and writings are etched.

The nation's capital will be celebrating Dr. King, his legacy and leadership in the Civil Rights movement, and the new memorial all week. The memorial organization hosts luncheons on Wednesday and Thursday to honor Civil Rights pioneers as well as the Women Leaders of the Civil Rights movement.  Thursday evening brings “The Message in the Music,” a concert honoring the music of the Civil Rights Era.  Saturday evening is the Dream Gala, followed by the official Memorial dedication Sunday afternoon.  President Obama, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Dr. King’s family, and other key figures from the Civil Rights Era are all slated to speak at the dedication ceremony Sunday.

The memorial has been a 15-year endeavor -- beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial “honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” on the National Mall.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the memorial took place on Nov. 13, 2006.  This Sunday’s dedication marks the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug162011

MLK Memorial Still $6 Million Shy of Reaching Goal, But Will Go as Planned

A master stone carver stands next to a panel where he has carved the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in stone in Washington, D.C. The King Memorial is scheduled to be unveiled in late August. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thousands of visitors will descend upon the National Mall in Washington, D.C. later this month to witness the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial -- a moment that has been 25 years in the making.

Event organizers have had to overcome a number of obstacles such as public criticism, and now one more stands in their way -- a $6 million hurdle.

"It's been an uphill battle all the way, but we are confident that we'll reach our goal," said Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

The four-acre site, complete with a 28-foot high granite statue of King, stretches from the Tidal Basin to Independence Avenue, and sits between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It also comes with a $120 million price tag. So far, organizers have raised $114 million through private and public donations.

To reach its financial goal, the foundation has employed a number of grassroots strategies, such as children raising donations at school-based events.

Johnson says the foundation has raised $1.4 million in donations from churches and synagogues from all over the country. He added that people who believe in King's message have been donating $5 or $10 through the foundation's website, text messages and mail-in donation forms.

"The event is going to happen," Johnson said. "I'm positive. We like to think about the positive."

Aside from finances, the memorial drew criticism after the foundation asked Chinese artist Lei Yixin to design and construct the site. USA Today reported that the organizer's decision to choose an artist from outside of the U.S. and from a communist country was a point of contention for dissenters.

"Dr. King would have wanted us to pick the person who would do the best job regardless of the color," Johnson said. "He said it in his speeches that we should not judge a person by skin but the content of his character."

The memorial features numerous design elements, including a Stone of Hope, a Mountain of Despair and an inscription wall. Stone of Hope and Mountain of Despair are plays on a line from King's famous "I Have a Dream Speech," during which he said, "We shall hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."

The 14 quotes adorning the inscription wall come from some of King's most famous speeches. Johnson said the four central tenets of King -- love, hope, justice and democracy -- were the deciding factors on which quotes made the wall, and the positive quotes will ensure the "living memorial will live on to eternity."

"This will mean something to all people in general regardless of their color," he said. "No gender or race is mentioned in the quotes."

The commemorative site will be the first on the National Mall to honor a person who was not a president or a soldier. This will also be the first time a person of color will be honored with a statue at the D.C. site.

The unveiling event scheduled for Aug. 28 will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The event is expected to feature musical performances by a number of entertainers, including singer Smokey Robinson.

Some Interesting Facts About the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial:

The address of the memorial is 1964 Independence Avenue. 1964 is the year President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

King's memorial statue is located near the cherry trees on the National Mall, which coincidentally bloom each year around the week King was assassinated.

The Aug. 28 dedication is exactly three years to the day of President Barack Obama's acceptance of the Democratic nomination. The White House announced on Aug. 4 that the president will speak at the unveiling. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is also scheduled to attend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug102011

Casey Anthony a No-Show at Caylee's Birthday Memorial

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Amidst a sea of violet balloons, hundreds gathered to commemorate what would have been Caylee Anthony's sixth birthday. Among the gatherers, stood the people who perhaps knew her best: Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.

They mingled, murmuring words of thanks and appreciation Tuesday evening as the densely packed crowd clamored for hugs and a chance to show their support. They gathered at the site where Caylee's skeletal remains were found three years ago.

Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, remains in hiding following her acquittal of murder charges in Caylee's death.

For the elder Anthonys, the grief is still fresh.

"It's hard to come down here," said George Anthony, sobbing. "It's hard."

The crowd marched together, some hand in hand. They said a prayer and, in unison, released a torrent of balloons into the sky. Cindy Anthony released a butterfly, a symbol, she said, for Caylee. As they marched back, Cindy and George Anthony shared a hug and the crowd broke into the birthday song.

The site at which they gathered is soon to turn into a memorial for the slain toddler.

A non-profit organization, Bring Kids Home, just released the design for the planned Caylee Anthony Project. The project will be a walkway near the site where Caylee's remains were found and is estimated to cost $200,000. They are asking for $25,000 in public donations and are continually seeking partners to help alleviate costs. All workers are volunteers, and none of the money goes towards salaries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun172011

NYC 9/11 Museum May Charge $20 Admission

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center in Manhattan in September 2012, visitors may find themselves shelling out $20 for admission.

Joe Daniles, president and CEO of the memorial foundation, told members of New York’s City Council Thursday that the admission charge would be a suggested donation that's “compatible” with fees at other “world-class museums.”

Daniels told the council that a fee of some sort would have to be levied on visitors to cover operational costs of the museum, but relatives of 9/11 victims would not be charged.  Daniels explained that the museum would also set aside days for first responders to visit.

The eight-acre memorial plaza portion of the site will be open to the public following this year’s 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.  Visitors will not have to pay a fee for access to that area.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a memorial honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when flight 93 crashed following a struggle between passengers and hijackers is close to completion.  The memorial, which will be ready in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, features a long, white marble wall bearing the names of the passengers and crew who died.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Jack Kevorkian Remembered At Michigan Memorial

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO(TROY, Mich.) -- A memorial service was held in Troy, Mich., Friday for Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who died last week at the age of 83.

Kevorkian began advertising in Detroit's newspapers for physician assisted suicides in 1987. Kevorkian claimed to have helped 130 people end their lives and was charged with murder four times. Those charges were dismissed, before Michigan had an assisted suicide law.

Patient 130 was Thomas Youk, so stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease that he couldn't hit the "kill" button. A video of Kevorkian administering the lethal dose of drugs was broadcast on national TV. Jack Kevorkian was convicted of second degree murder and spent eight years in prison.

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