(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- Plans for a new memorial honoring the nine victims of the 2015 church shooting tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, have been unveiled to the church community.
Michael Arad, the architect who helped design the National September 11 Memorial in New York, will design the “Emanuel Nine Memorial” and unveiled the plans after a 200th anniversary ceremony for the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, where the attack took place, according to a news release.
“The memorial honors the nine victims and five survivors of the June 17, 2015, tragedy, the largest racially-motivated mass murder in recent American history,” the release reads.
Arad reflected on the church’s 200-year history and all that the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church stood for in this time span.
The “Emanuel Nine tragedy marks another dark moment for the church, though faith helped to heal and bring light into the darkness,” he added.
Plans for the Emanuel Nine Memorial, unveiled on Sunday, will include a courtyard with two benches “facing each other with high backs that arc up and around like sheltering wings,” according to the release.
Additionally, there will be a survivors’ garden, six stone benches, and five trees, “symbolizing the five survivors -- the sixth signifying that the church is also a survivor,” the release said. A marble fountain will be placed at the center of the memorial’s courtyard with the names of the victims carved on the edges.
“The design reminds me of so many different things," Charleston City Council and Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church member Dudley Gregorie said in the release on Sunday. "It reminds me sometimes of a ship for enslaved people who were going to freedom. Sometimes it reminds me of the wings of angels. Sometimes it reminds me just of the arms of God.”
Mother Emanuel's pastor, Rev. Eric S.C. Manning said the memorial is a “spirit of resiliency” and “celebrate[s] the grace in forgiveness.”
Additionally, he hopes the memorial will allow the world “to rise above racism and overcome hate with love.”
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