Irene Churns up Eastern Seaboard; Wreaks Havoc on Life, Major Events including MLK Dedication
The 9th named storm and the first to approach the East Coast in several years, Hurricane Irene is churning up the Eastern Seaboard, wreaking havoc on plans – some historic – and everyday life from North Carolina to Massachusetts. The storm previously caused major damage as it moved over Puerto Rico, headed north toward the US.
The category 2 storm, which could be upgraded to a cat 3 before making landfall, has caused New York City and Washington, D.C. to plan unprecedented stoppages of their transit systems; the US Open has canceled some of its pre-opening day activities; mandatory evacuations have been issued in some cities; airlines have canceled 1000s of flights and disappointingly for thousands, the would-be-historic dedication of the recently unveiled Martin Luther King Jr. memorial has been called off indefinitely. The ceremony, with an anticipated crowd of 250,000 or more including dignitaries from around the world, was set to take place on Sunday in West Potomac Park where the statue stand sin DC, southwest of the National Mall. President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak.
“Hold your head up, Alphas, your work to help bring this important addition to our country’s history was not in vein,” says supporter Charles Simpson, now making arrangements to head back home from the nation’s capitol after learning of the cancellation.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, of which King was a member, helped to orchestrate the inclusion of the monument among the other iconic memorials found on the sacred grounds of the US government complex. The group accomplished an extraordinary feat, in that Dr. King is the first African-American honored with a memorial on or near the National Mall and only the fourth non-President to be memorialized in such a way.
Events are still taking place as of today, including today’s General Motors Foundation and Chevrolet Table of Brotherhood symposium, but Saturday will conclude all remaining events.