Charleston Airport Honors Mother Emanuel AME Church Shooting Victims
The June 2015 shooting of nine people at Charleston, South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel AME Church is one of the most tragic events the city has seen.
To pay tribute to the victims and the five who were wounded, Charleston International Airport has created an exhibit in their honor.
Located in the airport’s Central Hall are two five-foot-high stained glass panes separated by a glass partition which show the church with nine white doves and a cross. At the center of the exhibit in glass casing, is a bible open to the scripture Mark 4:13-20, which is the passage the bible study group was reading when White supremacist Dylann Roof opened fire. Beside the open bible is the closed bible of Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was killed in the shooting.
In a statement, the airport describes the exhibit as providing “a place for reflection and contemplation” for the millions of people who travel through the airport.
“Our airport is the most used public building in our community. The Aviation Authority Board and staff believe this tribute is fitting because the attack on the church and its worshippers was also an attack on our whole community.”
Henry Fishburne of the Charleston County Aviation Authority Board said, “Our airport is the most used public building in our community. The Aviation Authority Board and staff believe this tribute is fitting because the attack on the church and its worshippers was also an attack on our whole community.”
There was a private dedication ceremony for the families of the victims and survivors on Sunday.
“This will be a solemn space and serves to honor those whose lives were taken, those who survived and their families,” said Margaret Seidler, a member of the Aviation Authority Board and organizer of the exhibit.
“It also reminds our citizens and visitors about the Charleston response – the peace, community spirit and unity displayed in the aftermath of the June 17, 2015, tragedy.”
Included in the exhibit are pictures along the wall of the Charleston community reacting to the tragedy. Underneath the pictures are the words, “Charleston Strong.”
South Carolina artist, John Green, donated an oil painting called “White Breeze.”
“This painting is unique symbolically as it has seven black birds flying in the background and there are two shadow images of birds on the foreground reflected in the sheets for a total of nine bird images,” said Green.