205 T-shirts: 
A memorial for gun violence victims

I was just walking along getting some exercise and I noticed something down the road. Was it a flea market? Was someone selling clothes?

As I got closer, I could see for certain there were lots of t-shirts...but it definitely wasn't a clothing sale.

There were 205 t-shirts.

A name, age and date was written on each shirt.

It was obviously a memorial.

A memorial is something, such as a monument, display or ceremony, that honors a person(s) who died. Memorials can also serve as a reminder of an event where many people died.

The victims spanned the ages from the single digits (2 years old) to the elderly (83 years old).

It was such a moving display. (moving=something that makes you feel emotional).

I could not believe how many people had died in this area in just one year. I thought of everyone’s families.

Heeding God’s call, an inter-faith group, built this “Memorial to the Lost.” The group’s mission is to “heed God’s call to end gun violence.” This group supports survivors of gun violence, leads prayer vigils and honors the victims, raises awareness and educates the public about gun violence, as well as works to promote changes in our gun laws.

You can watch the video below to see the entire memorial.  You can also turn on the English subtitles in the video if it helps you understand better.

Here’s some information from their brochure:

Question: Why 205?

Answer: Each shirt represents a victim. The name of the victim plus the age of each victim and the date of each victim’s death. Each one is a human being, a child of God. Each one deserves to be remembered. Each passing deserves to be noted and mourned. Each t-shirt represents much more than a name. It represents a mother, a father, a child, an adult, an uncle, a neighbor, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a co-worker, etc.

Q: What is the meaning of the three different colors of the shirts?

A: The colors represent the three jurisdictions of Greater Washington. The white shirts represent the 103 lives lost in Washington, DC. The yellow are for the 19 lives lost in Northern Virginia. And the blue shirts memorialize the 83 Maryland gun deaths in 2016.

Q: Why does it look like a cemetery?

A: Unlike a cemetery, this memorial isn’t behind trees and gates where no one can see it. It’s on public view where folks driving, biking or walking past not only can see it but can be reminded of the violence that happens day in and day out in the Greater Washington Area and, yes, throughout our country.

Q: What are you expecting people to feel when they see the memorial and realize what it is?

A: It depends on each person. Some feel grief at the tremendous loss of life. Some feel sadness for the families and friends who have lost a loved one. Others feel anger at the violence that destroys so many lives–or anger at those who allow it to go on without doing anything–or doing enough–about it.

You can read more about this Heeding God’s Call on their Facebook page.

Your turn to practice

So, what do you think? Do many people have guns in your country or the area where you live? What do you think about America’s gun loving culture?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did you find this memorial interesting and compelling? Please leave a comment!