January 8, 2011 is a day the city of Tucson will never forget. On that sunny morning seven years ago, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle roads during a Congress on Your Corner event. Six innocent lives were lost, with 13 others injured, including former congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
While the horror of that day will never be forgotten, the Tucson community has healed together and kept the victims’ memory alive. Soon, Tucsonans will have a new way to remember and honor those we lost. During a special ceremony on Jan. 8th, 2018, the Tucson Memorial Foundation was officially dedicated to the victims and first responders of the tragedy.
Many community members turned up for the event, which was held in front of the old courthouse at El Presidio Park, where the memorial will soon stand. The foundation has announced it has raised enough money to start the construction process, and if all goes as planned, they should be breaking ground by the end of the year.
Giffords, who made a remarkable recovery despite her injuries, attended the dedication ceremony. “Tucson is strong,” she told the crowd. “Tucson is my place. I love it a lot.”
Fellow survivors like Pam Simon and Ron Barber also spoke, emphasizing how relieved they are to know the memorial is happening.
Construction is expected to commence in 6-8 months, with all work completed in time for the ninth anniversary on January 8th, 2020.”Yes, it was a tragedy but what we really want to celebrate is the way the community came together,” said Barber.
The memorial’s planned downtown location will provide a permanent place for remembrance and reflection. “They saw it on TV, the tragedy touched everyone’s lives, so now there will be a beautiful place for them to come and see and learn about what happened not only that day but after that day,” said Simon.
For more information, please visit the official website of the Tucson Memorial Foundation HERE.
Photo: Tucson Memorial Foundation