Washington, D.C. is always a fascinating place to visit, but will be especially so in January 2011 as the city celebrates the legacies of two great leaders. January 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the annual holiday honoring the civil rights leader, and January 20 will mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Each year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated across the country as a national day of community service.Â In Washington, an afternoon service at the National Cathedral will celebrate the Kingâ€™s legacy of faith and service. Many visitors also find it inspiring to stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where King delivered his famous â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ speech.
While on the National Mall, you may also want to visit the four-acre space between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials that is being developed as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. The memorial will feature water, trees and stone, with engravings that tell the story of civil rights in the U.S. The memorial is expected to open later in 2011.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Three days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Kennedy Center in Washington will honor President John F. Kennedy with a concert featuring such luminaries as singer Julie Andrews, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the dancers of the American Ballet Theater, actor Morgan Freeman and the National Symphony Orchestra. This celebration will kick off three weeks of special performances and events.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â President Kennedyâ€™s grave at Arlington National Cemetery is marked by an eternal flame that burns in the center of a circular granite stone. The presidentâ€™s wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, is also buried there. Slabs of granite just steps from the grave are carved with the words of Kennedyâ€™s 1961 inaugural address. The carvings were recently cleaned and re-stained, ensuring that visitors can read Kennedyâ€™s inspiring words.