WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- At the MLK Memorial on Monday, some tourists were unaware of the quote controversy. They thought the scaffolding meant that the statue had yet to be completed. When they learned that the construction was due to fixing an incorrect quote, they had plenty to say.
"It’s pretty sad if they messed up a quote the whole is supposed to see," said Connecticut resident Diana Dreschler.
"He didn't say it that way -- let's get it right," added Arkansas resident Deborah Dawson.
The memorial read, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." But this is a shortened version of what King really said.
Here is King's true quote:
"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness."
After poet Maya Angelou ordered it to be removed because it made King sound arrogant, memorial creator Lei Yixin was back with his crew on Monday to fix it. He apologized for altering the quote, and explained that his son had misinterpreted the original saying:
"Yeah, he feels sorry about that. It's art, not an exact replicate of Dr. King's quote."
The words will instead be replaced with designs.
John Etter and his family are in town from Williamsburg, VA. This is his first time seeing the memorial and he says despite the work, the memorial is still impressive.
“It was something I had to come and see for myself,” he said.
The memorial will remain open during construction. The current plans calls for this work to be completed for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.