Highland Park parade shooting temporary memorial opens next to city hall

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Friday, November 11, 2022
Highland Park opens temporary memorial for parade shooting victims
A Highland Park 4th of July parade shooting temporary memorial opens Friday next to the city hall to honor the victims.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A temporary memorial honoring the seven people killed in the Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooting opened Friday.

The city has put out flowers for anyone who wants to visit. They can bring them over to the new memorial which now sits in that rose garden.

It's a new place to reflect and remember the lives lost at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park.

"This memorial means that as a community we are obviously still deep in mourning," Highland Park Nancy Rotering.

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Friday morning, those still bearing heavy laid laying white carnations at the base of seven plaques inside the rose garden next to Highland Park City Hall.

"We heard from individuals who wanted a quiet place to reflect, to mourn and to grieve," Highland Park City Manager Ghida Neukirch said.

The memorial now relocated from its previous spot at Central and St. Johns, where city officials said it was triggering many in their day-to-day life.

But this new space is only temporary. The city council is expected to discuss plans for a permanent memorial in the new year.

"We wanted to give, particularly the families most directly impacted by this tragedy, the chance to physically start to recover," Mayor Rotering said.

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"I was at the intersection where the shooting took place and I feel like one of the very blessed ones and just continue to remember the ones who were so deeply affected," said Martha Wallace, who visited the memorial.

Counselors were on hand Friday, joined by therapy ponies and dogs to help residents.

It was only four months ago when the north shore suburb was exposed to such violence, on a day families felt safe in celebration of a national holiday.

Friday, counselors are on hand along with therapy ponies and dogs as the pain is still strong.

"So we have the therapy horse ponies and therapy dogs as well again just for individuals to come here and to know that people are not alone," Neukirch said.

Meanwhile, Highland Park's mayor said she has spoken to survivors who are dealing with what their lives look like moving forward.

"They are working through that challenge that they're telling me we need to do some thing," Rotering said. "We need to take those steps and get these weapons out of the hands of civilians."

City officials say a more permanent memorial will be discussed at the end of January. Information about the process will be shared on the city's website at a later date.