On October 29, 2009 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a permit allowing construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.
"Dr. King is one of America’s greatest heroes - a Nobel Peace Prize winner who inspired America to live up to the meaning of its creed of freedom, justice and opportunity for all people,” said Secretary Salazar. "It is fitting and appropriate that we honor Dr. King’s extraordinary life and legacy with a memorial here on the National Mall, alongside the timeless landmarks of American democracy and freedom. May this sacred ground help us draw strength from Dr. King’s courage, dedication and sacrifice, and inspire us to always seek a more perfect union."
"Where so many other great American heroes are honored, it is time to honor Martin Luther King Jr. right here in the nation's front door," Salazar said.
King's only surviving sibling, Christine King Farris, 82, said she was moved to tears when she saw a video depicting the memorial plaza and towering statue of her brother, nestled among Washington's famous cherry blossoms. She said King would have been humbled.
"I think he would say, 'No, don't do this for me,' but we have to do it because generations yet unborn need to know about Martin Luther King Jr.," she said.
Ed Jackson talks about the construction of the Martin Luther King Memorial near the Tidal Basin of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Construction of the memorial began December 28th, 2009, after 13 years of planning, fundraising, and legal issues.