ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The government shutdown was mentioned more than once during Monday's Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorative service.
Ebenezer's pastor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, called the stalemate "a time of narrow vision and petty politicians."
Rev. King's youngest daughter condemned the gridlock and partisanship that led to the shutdown.
Many national parks and historic sites are closed as a result of the government. That's been the case for 31-days and was the case for a short time at the historic King sites. But visitors were able to make a pilgrimage to the community all day all thanks to a major donation.
Many visitors focused on the attractions that standout along Sweet Auburn Avenue, Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. King served as co-pastor.
Farther down the street, the house where he was born.
There was a non-stop flow of people taking tours and foot traffic in the area.
Last week, the Delta Airlines Foundation kicked in an $83,000 grant to help reopen the sites in time for the King holiday.
“These young ladies started to talk about Martin Luther King, and they wanted to see some things, they wanted to put some faces on some things that we talk about. Had it been closed, there was nothing open to interact with, nobody to interact with or talk to – then it would’ve been harmful to them. For what they were seeking – they have a heart to know, and they need to know. But had it been closed and there was no access to it, that would’ve been a hurtful thing, that would’ve been very disappointing,” said Rev. Bessie Donaldson, Big Bethel AME Church.
“I think it makes a huge difference, the fact that we do have the national center open and all the sites open for people to visit, just in terms of – showing one of the great things about Atlanta and not letting a political struggle or the government shutdown put a stop to that,” said Atlanta resident Eric Hall.
No word yet on how many people visited the sites on Monday.