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MLK Memorial Open To Everyone Today -- Not Just D.C. Residents

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Today is D.C residents day at the new Martin Luther King Memorial, although the monument will be open to all members of the public throughout the day.

The original plan was to have the new memorial open only to District residents for an entire day -- but that proposal was nixed by the National Park Service. No tickets, passes, or proofs of residency are needed to visit the site today.

Instead, city leaders -- including the mayor, council members, cabinet officials, and others -- will be on hand all day to talk with visitors to the towering monument. It's one of many events scheduled this week around the upcoming dedication of the new memorial.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is also asking residents to come out on Saturday for a march and rally to support D.C. voting rights.

"This is an opportunity for lots of people in this city and people who empathize with our plight to come out and join us," Gray says. "Literally, I'm hoping for thousands."

Residents should expect tens of thousands of visitors Sunday for the official dedication, which will feature a speech by President Barack Obama.

Plans for the high profile ceremony could run into trouble, however, if weather reports predicting the arrival of Hurricane Irene in the D.C. area prove true. The storm is expected to make its way into the region this weekend, according to NBC Washington.

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