Emanuel 9 memorial expected to break ground this fall

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:37 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:46 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston marks seven years since the mass shooting that killed nine of its members, church leaders are planning to break ground this fall on a memorial to the victims.

The Rev. Eric Manning, the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel, says they are praying the Emanuel 9 Memorial and survivor’s garden will provide a lasting memory for the Emanuel 9, five survivors and the church, so they will never forget what took place.

The memorial is intended to be a symbol of hope and a place where people can grieve, heal, and share. It will feature two fellowship benches facing each other with high backs that represent sheltering wings. A names basin of the nine lives taken will flow through the center and a cross will follow behind.

Manning says he hopes this will allow people to connect in a new way.

“The fact that hate came in, the fact that the families showed an amazing grace and showed love and compassion,” Manning says. “I would hope that would then help others who may be at opposite ends of the spectrum to have a sensible dialogue and then of course to find common ground.”

A survivor’s garden will be dedicated to life and resiliency. Surrounding it will be six benches and five trees symbolizing the survivors and the sixth signifying the church is also a survivor. Manning says it will be a reminder that life continues.

The plan is to break ground by the end of this year. Construction is expected to take another year, so by early to mid-2024 they hope to unveil the memorial.

“Some things take time and healing of course is one of them, but also making sure that we never forget,” Manning says.

So far, $12.7 million has been raised for the memorial and the Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation has a final goal of raising $20 million.

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