One of my favorite places in Indianapolis is a park located at 17th and Broadway, just north of downtown. Here you’ll find what at first appears to be a typical city park. A playground, picnic tables, and basketball goals are scattered about the largely open field. But look a little closer, and you’ll notice a stunning sculpture. This is the Landmark for Peace Memorial, and it commemorates one of our nation’s most challenging days, and yet what many consider to be the city’s finest hour.
This park is called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, named in honor of Dr. King because on the night he was assassinated, Robert Kennedy was in town to give a campaign speech at that park. While cities all over America dealt with riots because of the understandable outrage over Dr. King’s assassination, Kennedy’s message of peace and the importance of carrying on Dr. King’s legacy kept Indianapolis free of violence that night and in the weeks to come. It is now considered one of the most important speeches in U.S. history, and portions of it are engraved at a memorial in Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, D.C.
The memorial was designed by Indianapolis artist and designer Greg Perry. It features silhouettes of Dr. King and Kennedy reaching out to each other and to the heavens above. It really is really an impressive work of art, and a fitting place to pay your respects to two of the most influential men in American history on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day or any other day of the year.
Before planning a visit to the park, I would encourage you to listen to Kennedy’s speech, available here: