Gun Violence Memorial Closes as Gun Violence Continues

gun violence memorial

WASHINGTON (03-04) – Today marked the closing ceremony at the National Building Museum where the shocking and profoundly sad Gun Violence National Memorial Project has been on display since April 2021.

With its closing, future exhibitions are now being planned to take place around the country while those involved in its creation are lobbying for a permanent National Gun Violence Memorial to be built in Washington to honor all those killed in the ongoing senseless killings.

The visually impactful exhibit to those killed in gun violence is composed of four large transparent houses whose walls are each made up of 700 hollow brick shapes sheathed behind glass containing the personal effects, significant objects and photographs given or lent to the project by the victims’ loved ones in honor of their memory.

The 700 bricks composing each house are significant as they represent the weekly average number of victims killed by gun violence in the U.S. in 2021 when the exhibition was first conceived. Collectively, the four houses equal the total number of people killed by gun violence in a single month. Ever more shocking is that it would take 48 such houses just to memorialize all the gun violence victims killed in one year.

The profoundly introspective and successful exhibit was designed by the Model of Architecture Serving Society (MASS Design Group) who espouse “that architecture has a critical role to play in supporting communities to confront history, shape new narratives, collectively heal and project new possibilities for the future.” The resulting design was created through a collaboration with artist Hank Wills Thomas, Purpose Over Pain of Chicago and Everytown For Gun Safety, a national organization.

The effect of the exhibit is a highly personal means of telling the stories of victims in a nation overloaded with guns and violence. Each brick highlights the life of a victim by adding a name and personal effects contextualizing them as a real person in a world where too often discussion of such killings is statistical and impersonal. Being able to show the victim as a person engaged in life along with mementos and photos of family and friends gives the vitrines a powerful means of communicating the aggerate loss of their life, a dimension not achievable by merely reporting facts.

After opening comments about the importance of the memorial, the ceremony moved on to the reading of names of all those whose memory is contained in the memorial. The massive list of 925 names took an hour to conclude lending yet another horrific dimension to the tragedy that has befallen our country through such senseless violence.

In closing, Chicago Firefighter Annette Holt spoke of her son, 16-year-old son Blair Holt, an honor student at  Julian High School, who was murdered in 2016 after boarding a crowded school bus at the end of the school day. “My only child, he was murdered doing what I asked him to do. Go to school and do your very best every day. Right around Mother’s Day as a matter of fact.”

While seated, Blair was shot by a teenage gang member who boarded the bus and opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun intending to shoot a rival gang member. As the gunman opened fire, Blair reacted by pushing the girl next to him down on the floor of the bus and shielded her with his own body. Missing his intended victim, one of his errant shots instead hit Blair. In total, five students were shot with only Blair having been killed. His mother went on to say, “And my son saved a young lady’s life, so not only was he a victim but he was also a hero.” In closing, she spoke glowingly recalling how special her son was to her and by saying, “If I could pick out a child, I’d pick him out over and over, and over again. I was so blessed to have this young man in my life.”

While the victims’ families memorialized the victims and called for an end to gun violence in America, last month House Republican Barry Moore (AL) introduced H.R.1095 – “To declare the AR-15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States.” The bill is cosponsored by fellow GOP members, Andre Clyde (GA), Laurent Boebert (CO) and George Santos (NY).

Naming the assault rifle thusly is an uncalled-for elevation of an insidious weapon of war so frequently used by mass murderers against innocent and unarmed people including school children. The bill is an obscene and unwarranted affront to the very citizens who the legislators are supposed to represent and to the memory of those who have been killed in gun violence.

It is indeed unfortunate that these same legislators didn’t have enough compassion or character to attend the closing ceremony to honor the victims and to meet first-hand the families and loved ones who have suffered through such horrific circumstances that gun violence has brought to them in their lives.

Or, as Annette Holt concluded in her comments by so aptly stating, “We are never the same after losing our children.”

Report and photos by Phil Pasquini

© 2023 nuzeink all rights reserved worldwide

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

The Idolatry of Gun Worship

In the aftermath of the horrific Nashville school shooting that took the lives of three adults and three little children, Tony Perkins president of the Family Research Council, refused to…

Stop Killing Us, Guns in America

For seven years now former Marine and anti-gun violence activist Jamal Johnson has undertaken a three week 140-mile walk from Philadelphia to Washington, DC to participate in the annual Stop…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News