National Mall begins construction on MLK Memorial

President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton attended a ground-breaking ceremony Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial near the Tidal Basin.

“We have gathered in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, to the ideals he held and to the life he lived,” Bush said. “Dr. King showed us that a life of conscience and purpose can lift up many souls. And on this ground, a monument will rise that preserves his legacy for the ages.”

Oprah Winfrey was one of 500 people who gathered for the ceremony, according to The Washington Post. The memorial, scheduled for completion in 2008, will hug the Tidal Basin and include a large wall, waterfalls and a statue of King.

The memorial is fittingly placed between the Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials, Bush said, according to a White House statement.

“By its presence in this place it will unite the man who declared the promise of America and defended the promise of America with the man who redeemed the promise of America.”

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