Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Fifth Anniversary

(Civil War Sunday will return next week.)

On a street corner on the edge of downtown Binghamton, New York, there is a small park on a street corner.

The passerby sees glass birds on a pole.
There are 13 stones, each with a plaque.  Each represents an innocent who was shot dead on the morning of April 3, 2009 on the grounds of the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York.  All of the dead, 13 at all (14 if you count the shooter, who was a former client of the ACA) were in an adult classroom.  The fifth anniversary of this loss was just a few days ago.
This is the building where the shooting took place.  It looks so peaceful now. (Photo taken summer of 2013.)
Roberta King was the teacher. She was subbing for the regular teacher, who had taken the day off to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary.  Some of my readers have enjoyed my December Hanukkah House posts showing dolls and dollhouses - many of these belonged to Mrs. King.  She was the mother of 10. Even at 72, she was refusing to retire.
Marc and Marie Bernard, husband and wife, left behind two children, a 12 year old and a six year old.
Maria Zobniw was born in a displaced persons camp in Europe after World War II, and immigrated to the United States when she was four.

Lan Ho's husband was also in the classroom with her and tried to shield his wife's body with his. He survived. She didn't.

Everyone - ordinary people from different walks of life, and different parts of the world.

This is the honor roll of the dead (taken from Wikipedia)
  • Parveen Ali, age 26, an immigrant from northern Pakistan
  • Almir Olimpio Alves, age 43, a Brazilian Ph.D. in Mathematics and visiting scholar at Binghamton University, attending English classes at the Civic Association
  • Marc Henry Bernard, age 44, an immigrant from Haiti
  • Maria Sonia Bernard, age 46, an immigrant from Haiti
  • Li Guo, age 47, a visiting scholar from China
  • Lan Ho, age 39, an immigrant from Vietnam
  • Layla Khalil, age 53, an Iraqi mother of three children
  • Roberta King, age 72, an English language teacher
  • Jiang Ling, age 22, an immigrant from China
  • Hong Xiu "Amy" Mao Marsland, age 35, a nail technician who immigrated from China in 2006 
  • Dolores Yigal, age 53, a recent immigrant from the Philippines
  • Hai Hong Zhong, age 54, an immigrant from China
  • Maria Zobniw, age 60, a part-time caseworker at the Civic Association, whose parents were from the Ukraine.

If you look at the names, and some of the faces, you will realize that people from all over the world, and from different races (as our culture defines race - yes, that is defined by culture) died that day.  As equals.

Next week, I hope I can turn to happier topics


  1. OMG, how sad, but also wonderful that you are celebrating the lives of these individuals who were lost on that tragic day. Beautiful statue/plaques in remembrance. Thank you for sharing - now I need to go blow my nose and dry my eyes.

  2. Thanks for your post about the 5th anniversary of the shooting in NY. Your tribute and pictures showing the tremendous diversity of everyone is wonderful. I appreciate seeing these pics and being reminded that life is precious!

  3. What a meaningful post thank you so much for sharing :) Makes me appreciate what we have right here right now :)

  4. What a tragedy! Memorials like this are important for the survivors but also as instruction for the rest of us. The human mind can be delicate and hard to predict.

  5. Gosh, another sad story. I'm glad that their lives are being remembered and celebrated though!


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