Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008
Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Deputy Director Lindi L. Harvey, Regional Director Joseph Lawler and Margaret OâDell, superintendent for the National Mall & Memorial, joined students from the District of Columbia last Friday to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this 79th birthday at the Department of the Interiorâs South Building Auditorium. Later, about 100 students from D.C.âs Watkins Elementary School recited the entire âI Have A Dreamâ speech Dr. King gave on August 28, 1963 on the steps of Lincoln Memorial.
âHaving the courage to speak out today is great,â said Kempthorne. âStudents as young as you are, talking about the United States, makes you strong. Always do your best in what you are working on, and continue to dream.â
âWe honor Dr. King by rememberingâand by celebratingâhis vision and accomplishments,â said Harvey.
âWhatever your dreams are, they can come true if you believe in yourself, have courage, and stand up for what you believe,â said Lawler. âToday I want to impress upon you to keep your dreams alive.â
âI was a little girl when Dr. King made that speech and I didnât know then what a difference his words would make for our country, âsaid OâDell. âI think Dr. King would be happy to know that young people today have their own dreams for America.â
The National Mall & Memorial Parks sponsored both the South Interior and the Lincoln Memorial observances. At South Interior, students from Dunbar Senior High Schoolâs vocal ensemble and Kimball Elementary Schoolâs choir sang selections. Students from several area public schools presented âYouth Visions,â the students' opportunity to speak about their dreams for America.
Following the Lincoln Memorial observance, the NPS placed a wreath on the steps where King gave his 1963 speech.