‘Sheltering wings:’ Charleston memorial plan conveys solace – Mother Emanuel AME

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Designs for a memorial to nine black worshippers slain at a South Carolina church began not at a drafting table, but with questions from grieving family members to prospective architects. They didn’t want to see any drawings until they sat down with the eventual designer to discuss how best to honor loved ones lost in the racist attack at Emanuel AME Church.

The result of those conversations, the planners say, will be less of a solemn monument and more of a heavenly embrace to those visiting the historic Charleston church.

Church officials unveiled detailed plans Sunday afternoon for the permanent tribute designed by the architect behind the 9/11 Memorial in New York. The announcement, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the church known as “Mother Emanuel,” will be followed by a push to raise the money needed to build the memorial and prayer garden.

Church officials say the design conveys both solace and resiliency. A marble fountain with carvings of the victims’ names will be flanked by curved stone benches that rise above visitors’ heads and cradle the space “like sheltering wings,” according to a news release.

“When you walk into the memorial, it’s going to give you the feeling of being embraced, just embraced with warmth,” said City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie, a church trustee who lost a loved one in the June 2015 attack.

The nine worshippers were shot during Bible study by a man who said he intended to kill people at the historic church to stoke racial tensions. He’s been sentenced to death.

In honoring the victims, architect Michael Arad said the project also will pay homage to the church’s history as a living community, not just a geographic location.

“At the heart of the design of the new memorial is the notion of congregation — of creating a place that fosters a sense of community that invites people in,” Arad said in an interview.

The church, among the oldest black congregations in the South, has stood as a beacon for the past two centuries despite adversity. It was torched by whites in its early years after a failed slave revolt, and since then, it has been rebuilt or repaired after natural disasters.

Thus, Gregorie said, the memorial and prayer garden will also give visitors a “sense of resiliency and survival.”

Discussions about a permanent tribute to the victims began in the months after the shooting, said local businessman John Darby, who helped set up a memorial fund for the church. Darby estimated it could take more than $15 million for construction and an endowment to maintain the memorial.

At the outset, prospective architects were asked not to submit designs but to answer written questions about their emotional reaction to the shootings, said Arad.

Arad, announced as architect in June 2017, began developing the designs through further conversations with the victims’ loved ones, other congregants and a church committee.

“It was really about bringing things to the table and discussing them with the group and hearing responses and understanding what resonated,” he said.

The design process was often intertwined with grief.

“There were days we just passed around a tissue box,” Darby said.

Such moments helped to make sure that the design serves the families and wider congregation, Arad said.

“Unless you develop this firsthand knowledge and connection of who you’re meant to serve in designing a memorial, you’re not going to be able to develop the empathy required for the appropriate response,” the architect said. “So, yes, as you can imagine it was difficult, but it’s absolutely essential.”

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Follow Drew on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JonathanLDrew

9/11 Memorial designer to create Emanuel AME Church shooting memorial

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The architect who designed the 9/11 Memorial in New York has been chosen to create a memorial to honor the nine worshippers gunned down in a racist shooting attack on a South Carolina church.

The decision came Saturday on the second anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel AME church in Charleston — a day also marked by a crowd singing “Amazing Grace” as they marched to the church. Emanuel’s bells rang nine times at the end of the “Hate Won’t Win Unity Walk.”

Last year, friends and family dedicated 15 trees on Emanuel’s front lawn — one for each of the dead, the five people inside the church who survived the slaughter and one for the church’s congregation. This year, plaques were placed under each tree.

The white killer of the nine black worshippers is in a federal prison in Indiana after a federal jury found him guilty of hate crimes. Those 12 jurors told Dylann Roof in January he would pay with his life for the mass shooting. Roof is appealing that death sentence.

More memorials are planned at the Charleston church. A prayer garden is under construction, and Michael Arad will soon begin work on the memorial that the Rev. Eric Manning, pastor of Emanuel AME, said will be a reminder of the resiliency of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the South.

One of the church’s founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to lead a slave revolt in 1822. He was put to death and the church was burned down and closed for decades.

“If we are able to shine a light on the beauty, resiliency and love that was shown by members of this congregation and the community of Charleston, we will succeed in showing the best of humankind in the wake of the worst,” Arad said.

Emanuel AME itself is adjusting too.

The church fellowship hall where Roof sat through 45 minutes of a Wednesday night Bible study before firing the first of 77 bullets as the worshippers bowed their heads for a final prayer on June 17, 2015, has termites and unpatched bullet holes, The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/2tv7MF4).

Some members want to totally renovate the hall because the wood-paneled walls and round white tables are a reminder of the massacre. Others, including the pastor, want it restored to look the same. No decision has been made yet.

Manning, who came to Emanuel last summer, has made some changes. The Wednesday night Bible study is now held upstairs in the church sanctuary to spare members from reliving the horror every week.

Dozens of visitors still come to Sunday services at Emanuel AME. The church used to welcome and individually recognize each visitor between hymns and the sermon. But after the shootings, that stretched on for so long it seemed to overshadow Manning’s message from the pulpit.

So now visitors are welcomed as a group with a brief word from the pastor toward the start of the service. Members then greet them with a short song: “Emanuel, God is with us. Emanuel, in Him do we trust. We welcome you to this holy place. We welcome you with our warm embrace. We welcome you, we welcome you to Emanuel.”

“I did not want worship service to continue to be a spectator sport,” Manning told the newspaper. “Some people may not agree with me, and I understand that. But my job is to protect worship.”

*Provided by MyStatesman.com

Florence, SC Veterans Park – An Honored and Respected Tribute to our Military

By Mark A. Leon

By Mark A. Leon

On a rare occasion, you find a place ordained with honesty, emotion, respect and admiration.? A place that pays tribute to those dedicated contributors who put their lives on the line to stand beside the flag of freedom.? On this, our Memorial Day Weekend, we had a chance to take a solemn walk through the Florence Veterans Park and pay tribute to the branches of military and their continued dedication to the preservation of freedom.

The following pictures will paint a beautiful picture, but walking through this pristine park, we were honored to say this is a testimony to the commitment South Carolina places on the importance of military service and the honor it deserves.

To the City of Florence and all the people that made this park possible, thank you and for all those that have and continue to wear the uniform proud, we are indebted to you and your service.

If you have not visited this park, located just over two hours northwest of Charleston, we urge you to spend time here.? This is a park that we would categorize in the level of some of the most cherished tribute parks in Washington, D.C.

Take a virtual walk with us through Florence Veterans Park

 

 

Saluting the Flag
Saluting the Flag

 

Center courtyard monument
Center courtyard monument

 

Memorial Fountain
Memorial Fountain

 

Purple Heart Monument
Purple Heart Monument

 

Memorial Wall
Memorial Wall

 

 

Sailor's Creed

 

USS South Carolina Bell
USS South Carolina Bell

 

MIA Memorial
MIA Memorial

 

 

Merchant Marine
Merchant Marine

 

Armed Forces
Armed Forces

 

Flags of Pride
Flags of Pride

 

Daughters of the American Revolution
Daughters of the American Revolution

 

The Marine Corps
The Marine Corps

 

 

 

The Oath of Enlistment
The Oath of Enlistment

 

Desert Storm
Desert Storm

 

Branches of the Armed Forces
Branches of the Armed Forces

 

U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy

 

Family Reunited
Family Reunited

 

 

9/11 Pentagon Memorial
9/11 Pentagon Memorial

 

 

To those that have served, we thank you.

 

 

70’s and 80’s Television Stars we Lost in 2016 (Some you may not even realize)

We lost a number of celebrities in 2016 that had an impact on my of our childhoods.? Some were on the forefront of the news while others passed quietly.? Here is a gallery of some of the key foundations of the 70’s and 80’s TV landscape that passed on in 2016.

Alan Thicke – Known for Growing Pains (69 Years Old)

Michu Meszaros – Played ALF (76 Years Old)

George Gaynes – Adopted Father of Punky Brewster (98 Years Old)

George-Gaynes-punky-brewster-tease-today-160217

Ron Glass – Known for Barney Miller and Firefly (71 Years Old)

Steven Hill – Known for Law and Order (94 Years Old)

Pat Harrington Jr. – Known for One Day At A Time (86 Years Old)

Abe Vigoda – Known for Barney Miller (94 Years Old)

Garry Shandling – Known for Larry Sanders Show / Garry Shandling Show (66 Years Old)

Doris Roberts – Known for Everybody Loves Raymond (90 Years Old)

Morley Safer – Known for 60 Minutes (84 Years Old)

Theresa Saldana – Known for The Commish and Raging Bull (61 Years Old)

Garry Marshall – Known for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley (81 Years Old)

"New Year's Eve" New York Premiere - Inside Arrivals

Youree Dell Harris – Known as Miss Cleo – TV Psychic (53 Years Old)

Sagen Lewis – Known for St. Elsewhere (63 Years Old)

John Saunders – Known for ESPN (61 Years Old)

John McLaughlin – Known for The McLaughlin Group (89 Years Old)

Gwen Ifill – Known for PBS NewsHour (61 Years Old)

Florence Henderson – Known for The Brady Bunch (82 Years Old)

Remember them well.