Las Vegas Community Healing Gardens
The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden, located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, was created days after a shooter, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival the night of October 1st, 2017. Community volunteers and the Get Outdoors Nevada (GON) who serves as a nonprofit partner working with the City of Las Vegas, designed and built this special permanent place of healing, and are the rightful caretakers of the garden. The garden that serves as a place of calm remembrance for those who were affected deeply by this hardship. It is a garden to celebrate life, show compassion and most importantly heal from this tragedy. The garden features 58 “trees of life” donated by Siegfried and Roy, to signify the 58 lives that were lost that night, as well as a Remembrance Wall, pictures, flowers, and other offerings from the community to signifying their condolences (History, 2018). This site is opened to any and everyone wishing to heal from this event or simply remember what happened the night of this tragic event.
Backstory and Context
Route 91 Harvest Festival is a three-day country music festival that is held annually in Paradise, Nevada in the Las Vegas Village lot on the Las Vegas Boulevard. The festival is known for hosting/headlining popular musical country artist.
On the night of October 1st, 2017, Between 10:05-10:15, Stephen Paddock, fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people (before killing himself) and injuring 851 (422 by gunfire). This incident is the deadliest mass shooting committed by a single individual in U.S history. (En.wikipedia.org, 2019)
In the time of tribulation caused by Paddock, there was an immediate response. Within a couple of days, the community, with help from the Get Outdoors Nevada and the LV Community Healing Garden Community created a place of peace (Woods, 2017). With lots of ideas thrown everywhere, nothing was set in stone until Jay Pleggenkuhle, owner of the Stonerose Landscape called the EON office and said, “A garden is a source of life... it brings people peace” from there, a permanent healing garden memorial was in the making. Pleggenkuhle sketched a garden on a napkin and before noon, donations started to pour in. More than a thousand people offered time, money and materials for this project to be built as soon as possible. Pleggenkuhle mentioned that the main intentions in doing the garden project wasn’t necessarily the result but the process of bring the community together in a time of hurt and heartache to create joy and beauty (Crosby, 2018)
Although the Healing Gardens is a place of peace and love, it is a reminder of the tragic event and gun violence. This garden is a meaning of remembering the ones that were lost as well as the horrible gun laws we have as a nation.
Crosby, Rachel. “Remembrance Wall Dedicated at Las Vegas Community Healing Garden.” Journal. Las Vegas Journal, October 2, 2018. https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/remembrance-wall-dedicated-at-las-vegas-community-healing-garden/.
HISTORY. (2018). Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas concert crowd, wounding hundreds and killing 58. [online] Available at: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/2017-las-vegas-shooting [Accessed 22 Oct. 2019].
En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Stephen Paddock. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Paddock [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].
Woods, Alden. “Volunteers Create Healing Garden Just Days after Las Vegas Shooting.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, October 6, 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/05/volunteers-create-healing-garden-just-days-after-las-vegas-shooting/738323001/.