It’s been almost a full year since we last checked in on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. At last we left it, things were finally moving forward, and it looked like it might finally find a home in Washington DC’s National Mall following a few years of miscellaneous time-eating delays and battles. Now that we’ve returned, we learn that the memorial has hit yet another wall, this one being perhaps the most bizarre yet. The National Park Service and the memorial’s organizing foundation has delayed the start of construction for nearly a full year due to bickering about how to best “secure the site against possible domestic terrorism threats.” The park officials want big barriers blocking access to the memorial, but the memorial’s organizers want the site uncluttered and conform to “King’s legacy of openness and inclusiveness.” It’s been a little while since we’ve been to DC, but aren’t a lot of the monuments and memorials already fairly terrorist-accessible? And what terrorist is going to target a granite structure? What’s the benefit of that? We’re sure there’s some sound reasoning behind it (somewhere), we just don’t quite get it. Fortunately, former Chicagoan and current Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, has gotten behind the memorial and is trying to put some pressure on the park service to get going already and approve construction:
Duncan said Tuesday it’s time to get to work and offered to make some calls to fellow members of the Obama administration, drawing applause from students and others who gathered at the memorial site to mark the 46th anniversary of the March on Washington. King gave his “I Have a Dream Speech” there on Aug. 28, 1963.