It was an emotional day in Binghamton as years of planning and fundraising came together and the first soil was lifted at the site of the future ACA Memorial. 13 people lost their lives in the massacre at the American Civic Association three years ago, but as our Elyse Mickalonis explains, this is the next step toward healing.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It was a day of remembrance and a day to look forward.
“That memorial is to honor all the victims and their families and for the community as well, for the state and the whole country, because what happens here happens elsewhere,” said Samir Muhammad Al-Salihi's, ACA Victim's Husband.
Binghamton city officials broke ground at the ACA Memorial Park on Sunday. They were joined by victims' family members at the corner of Front and Clinton streets. It’s been over three years since Jiverly Wong opened fire in the ACA building on Front Street, taking the lives of thirteen people and then his own.
“Our community will not be defined by this tragedy, but rather by our response to it and we know the vitality of our community and it’s resilience and especially of the families of the victims involved,” said Andrew Block, Executive Assistant to the Mayor.
Organizers reached their fundraising goal of 200-thousand dollars in March. Construction is set to begin this fall and is expected to last six weeks — once completed the memorial will feature a fractured granite column surrounded by thirteen glass birds and a garden.
“People are really, really going to feel very, very good when they see how lovely this is. These birds, each represent a person lost in the tragedy. It’s going to be a nice edition for this part of the city, an inspiration for many,” said Donna Lupardo, (D) Assembly.
Organizers say they hope this park will serve as a memorial and an inspiration to everyone who visits.
"This park is for the people of the community to enjoy and we hope people come here and their children and that their children will enjoy the sculptures and learn about the people we lost. They were inspiring people from all walks of life, various backgrounds, living their dreams,” said David Marsland, ACA Victim's Husband.
Remembering and celebrating the lives of loved ones.