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Our Garden of Angels

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by Rick Waldroup, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. On February 15, 1998, Amy Robinson was riding her bicycle to work when she ran into two of her co-workers on the street, Michael Wayne Hall and Robert Neville. Amy, a mentally challenged young woman of 19, worked at a local grocery store in Arlington, Texas. Arlington is a town of approximately 300,000 people located between Dallas and Fort Worth. The two young fellows told Amy they were going for a ride and talked Amy into putting her bicycle in the back of their pickup truck and to come along for the ride. That was the last time anyone saw Amy alive.

    A few days later, Amy's body was found in a densely wooded area.

    Amy's grandmother, Carolyn Barker, later placed a single wooden cross at the scene of Amy's death as a roadside memorial. Seeing the cross, the family of Vern Price, who was also a murder victim, put a cross next to Amy's. Some time later, the family of Chad Houston, another murder victim, placed a cross at the site. Thus was the beginning of Our Garden of Angels.

    Carolyn Barker decided to start a homicide memorial park dedicated to the memories of loved ones who had been murdered. It is the first and only homicide memorial park in the country. The park was officially opened in February of 2000. Crosses are placed at the park in memory of those whose lives have been taken by the hands of others.

    Saturday, April 7 2007, marked the seventh anniversary of the opening of the park. A memorial service was planned including guest speakers and live music. The day was overcast, windy, and extemely cold with snow flurries in the forecast. The day turned out to be the coldest day in April in Texas in the last 69 years. April 7 is also Amy's birthday.

    Greg Price, who now runs the park, explained to me that the park has come to represent much more than just a memorial place with crosses. It is an "affirmation of life", he told me. Children come to the park and play, adults come to sit and reflect on the memories of their loved ones, and each spring, volunteers plant new flowers and trees. It is a breathing and living memorial to those who are gone, but never forgotten. Greg told me, "we celebrate life here, not death." Perhaps Amy's grandmother, Carolyn said it best, "We are about kindness, hope for tomorrow, and helping others.

    I shot a D2H and D1x and a variety of lenses. To see all of the photos go here http://www.pbase.com/rangefinderrick/garden_of_angels&page=1

    In memory of Amy. May you sing with the angels.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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    Family members decorate the crosses with flowers and photos and other items.
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    Amy's Grandmother, Carolyn Barker standing next to Amy's cross.
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    The park has expanded. This is the newest addition to the park.
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    Amy's Angel. She sits at the base of Amy's cross.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2007
  2. My heart breaks just looking at these photographs. Such pain anyone associated with each and every cross has had to endure. Losing someone to a murder is something you never get over. The anger and the pain always remain.

    A good friend of mine was murdered by his wife during their split up - she planned it. I've never gotten over it. Such a loss.

    I'm so glad Amy, and the others, have a place to be honoured and remembered by their loved ones.
  3. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Happy and sad.
    Nice images and story
  4. A very moving series of photos. Excellent photojournalism.
  5. tojor


    Jul 27, 2005
    Touching and moving story. Thanks for posting.
  6. I'm speechless...thanks for sharing this!!!
  7. I want to thank everyone for the very kind words. Whenever I do any PJ work, I try to remain as detached and emotionless as possible- I don't care what I am shooting. First and foremost I am there to do a job and get the shots. Getting emotional while shooting is not the way to do the job effectively. It was no different with this.

    That is, until I got home and started going through the shots. It became a very sobering and challenging experience going through the more than 300 shots I took. At times I had to get up and leave the computer for a while. It has been a long, long time since something like that has happened to me. After shooting stuff like this for over 30 years, I thought I was jaded to just about every kind of human emotion. It is nice to know that I am not as jaded as I thought.

    Thanks once again to everyone.
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