While Rep. Elijah Cummings was disappointed that the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was postponed because of an approaching hurricane, the delay didn’t dampen his enthusiasm Friday.
“Sometimes God has another plan,” the Maryland Democrat said about the ceremony, which had been scheduled for Sunday. “The fact is that sometimes God will give you a situation that will make it even better the next time around, so I’m looking forward to the celebration.”
Cummings was speaking at the Women Who Dare To Dream luncheon, part of the week of events organized for the debut of the MLK memorial, which was opened to the public Monday. Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) also attended.
Friday’s events were held as scheduled, but organizers decided Thursday night to postpone the dedication ceremony as Hurricane Irene made its way toward the East Coast. The National Hurricane Center predicted Friday afternoon that the Category 2 storm would approach the North Carolina coast this evening and pass near or over it Saturday as the hurricane continued its northward trajectory. It was expected to reach the Washington, D.C., area by early Sunday.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc. plans to reschedule the dedication ceremony for September or October. President Barack Obama had been scheduled to speak at Sunday’s event.
Cummings was one of several featured guests at Friday’s luncheon, which included poet and author Maya Angelou and musician India Arie. Cummings touched on democracy as he addressed an audience of more than 200 people.
“Dr. King lived only 39 years, but in those 39 years, he did a whole lot,” he said. “He affected every single person in this room and generations that aren’t born. But this democracy that he worked so hard for ... I believe that he would say, that while we live, you must guard your progress. You must understand that democracy is constantly under attack, and it is being attacked every single day.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.