A wooden temple was built as a memorial to the 17 victims of a Florida college's mass photography set in brutal Sunday in a symbolic gesture of healing.
The public art installation "Temple of Time" was set at a ceremony hosted by the cities of Parkland and Coral Springs, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students live.
The families of several Parkland victims participated in the ritual burning of the 35-meter-long temple. Described as "therapeutic" by someone, the ceremonial fire would symbolize the release of pain that was still left inside.
Firefighters surrounded the structure when 1
The timing was impeccable. The lacelike design allows the flames to spread evenly over the wooden structure, causing it to light orange for a few minutes when the sky was darkened. The temple did not burn to the ground as predicted.
Friends and loved ones had left notes, pictures and memorials in the temple to honor the victims of mass shooting since it was built in February.
"It's kind of sad today because this temple has meant so much to so many," says Parkland Christine Hunschofsky. "The beauty of the temple is not the beautiful structure. It is the people who gathered, the messages, the love, the hope shared, and the resilience shown by this fellowship."
San Francisco area artist David Best created the Asian design of 1600 square meters (150 square meters) with a track roof. Most building materials and other expenses were paid by the former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Foundation.
A lone gunman attacked 17 students and staff and injured 17 others on February 14, 2018.
Best and his volunteers and community helpers built the structure that communities celebrated the anniversary of mass shooting in February.
On Sunday, Best said he was worried about students and others suffering in silence. He urged the community to protect each other to prevent more suicides, a clear reference to the cases of two students' survivors who committed suicide earlier this year.
"Let's watch out for each other," said Best. "This is a society that went through hell."