A few thoughts on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial:
It is a very personal memorial to folks like me who are 50 or older. Unlike Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln, we actually remember when this person lived. And died. And we’ve seen the difference King has made in our lives.
A couple years ago, I was covering a Washington Wizards game at Verizon Center on MLK day and was talking to a friend about what happened in 1968. Suddenly, I noticed a lot of young faces listening. They were like – wow, you remember when King was alive? Reason No. 189,766 to feel old.
I was too young to serve in the Vietnam war, but I know a neighbor on the wall. Maybe the MLK is somewhat like the Vietnam Memorial wall is to those who served over there. Or the Korean and World War II memorials to those vets. My dad was a Korean War vet who was in an army unit like the memorial and I often think of him when touring it.
I think the MLK memorial is fine. Some people think King looks too stern. I think he looks however the viewer wants him to look.
Overall, it’s nice to see a memorial where families pose for photos. It’s not on all of the tours by companies, but it should along with the nearby FDR.