One of the most indelible images of January 8th is the massive memorial that sprang up on the lawn of University of Arizona Medical Center. The sprawling display has been packed up and put away, but not forgotten.
A committee has been gathering input from shooting survivors and the public regarding how to create a lasting tribute.
From each candle to every poster, thousands of small mementos sent a powerful message of well wishes. The items symbolize the care and compassion of southern Arizonans, who pulled together after tragedy shattered our world.
"Those speak to the beauty of our community," said Roberto Bedoya of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, which is spearheading the effort to preserve the message and meaning behind all the mementos.
His office continues to take input on a permanent memorial. There are no concrete plans yet, but leaders feel a proper tribute will somehow incorporate the pieces left by the public.
"Sometimes, objects associated with a particular incident can trigger that moment of reflection," Bedoya said.
The items left on the hospital lawn and other locations had been boxed up in storage at University of Arizona Medical Center until a few months ago. In October, they were relocated to a longer-term storage facility for safe-keeping - for as long as necessary, until the community comes up with an appropriate way to remember and respect those whose lives changed on Jan. 8, 2011.
"It takes time for deep reflection to make sure you are responding in the most, the best way you can," Bedoya said.
A year has now passed, and it may take many more to build a lasting memorial. But project leaders assure that the display that once lit up our city will shine on again, in some form.
For more information about the permanent memorial project, and to submit ideas:
Copyright 2012 KOLD. All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive