A few things were different at the Emanuel AME memorial on Thursday. A new plaque hangs on the exterior wall of the church, it reads: “We are U9ted in faith and love” and has the first names of all of the victims around the outside of the heart. Volunteers say the rain proved troubling for some of the artwork placed outside, so people have found a way around that. To keep signatures and messages protected, people are now signing a cloth shower curtain and the bark on the trees outside of Mother Emanuel.
There is constant stream of people delivering flowers, and a volunteer at the church says the majority of the ones we saw Thursday were delivered within the past 24 hours.
Volunteer Toni Carrier says, “At least 2/3 of these flowers today have come out here today and I expect is the service draws closer that probably a lot more are going to be delivered, but certainly almost all of the stand flowers have been delivered today and people just keep coming.”
She says as the flowers begin to wilt, they are brought inside by church members. The more perishable items, like artwork and stuffed animals, are also brought inside daily due to the afternoon thunderstorms. First-time visitors to the memorial says they are shocked by that amount of flowers that arrived just today.
One visitor, Diane Bailey, says, “Wow… Wow, I didn’t realize. I think again that just speaks for the people around here whether from Charleston or not. I think everyone is just really laying their hands on Charleston and hoping for the best.”
Another memorial visitor, Ronnie Hawthorne, says, “Wow. Well we delivered flowers today too. So that is awesome, that is really awesome.”
Corey Hawthorne and Xavier McKinney say, “”I’m shocked. I’m really shocked, for real I thought these were all each brought individually, like one at a time, like over the entire time. It’s amazing, unbelievable, really amazing.”
Volunteers say, for some, delivering flowers is part of the healing process.
Carrier says, “”It’s amazing people carefully choosing where they’re going to place the flowers, sometimes arranging the flowers just so you know it’s uplifting it’s healing.”
Everyone at the memorial today agreed that the diversity and love displayed today demonstrates the unity across Charleston at the moment.
Here is how you can help the victims of the Charleston shooting:
Text a donation through the local company “bidder”. The text is free and all proceeds go to the Charleston shooting victims. All you have to do is text ‘Pray for Charleston” to 843-606-5995 or you can go on to their website www.bidr.com/prayforcharleston.
If you would like to help the families of the victims, donations can be sent to “Mother Emanuel Hope Fund” at any Wells Fargo Bank.
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