AP News
Posted: Jan 21, 2013 5:41 PM

The hulking structure paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. didn't exist during President Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. It opened two years later, and this time it was a popular stop for people honoring the slain civil rights leader on the day of his remembrance as well as on the day of Obama's second public swearing-in.

Nicole Hailey, 34, had driven with her family from Monroe, N.C., a six-hour drive they started at midnight. She says her family made a point of coming to the MLK memorial before staking out a spot for the swearing-in ceremony. She says: "We're just celebrating freedom."

Jon Barton, 61, and his wife Brooke Stephens, 59, of Roanoke, Va., had knocked on doors to get out the vote for Obama. On Monday, they were visiting the MLK memorial before heading to the mall. "When you grew up in the 60s, this means a lot," Stephens said while looking at the statue of King.

And Kona Brown, 45, of Annapolis, Md., and her friend Donna Thomas, 45, of Fort Worth, Texas, were both visiting the memorial for the first time. Brown called it beautiful and emotional, because it brought back stories of the Civil Rights movement she was told growing up. "What better day to come see the memorial?" she said, adding that King had helped pave the way for Obama to become president.

— Jessica Gresko — Twitter


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