MLK Day celebrated despite government shutdown
The partial government shutdown nearly halted an Atlanta-area celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy, as America marked the 90th birthday of the preacher, speaker, and civil rights activist Monday. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, home of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the civil rights icon preached, had closed because of the shutdown. It reopened Monday for a commemorative service with the help of a grant from Delta Air Lines. “Without the assistance provided by The Delta Air Lines Foundation, it would have remained closed during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend,” a National Park Service spokesman told NPR.
In Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Monday morning and laid a wreath. Open-air memorials like the King one remain accessible to visitors during the shutdown, though services such as cleaning and maintenance are not available, according to the National Park Service.
The president said in a proclamation that America has come a long way, “but we acknowledge that more work must be done for, in the words of Dr. King, ‘justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”
The day before he died in 1968, King said, after wishing for longevity like any man, “I just want to do God’s will, and he has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the promised land. I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
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