Sunday, September 25th, the Krystle Campbell Peace Garden was dedicated in Medford.
It still feels close, even after two and a half years. I can’t even imagine how it feels for the Lus, Colliers, Richards and Campbells. Does the pain and darkness ever fade?
As much as we all want to move on, need to move on, part of us never wants to let go. To forget.
The thought of forgetting is unbearable. How can we? How could we?
Part of the healing and survival process is the easing of the pain. The forgetting. How could we carry on carrying the pain and loss with us each day, as fresh as that moment.
For the families the thoughts and memories never fade. You often hear family members say, “It’s just like yesterday.” For the rest of us it is memorials and commemorations that keep memories alive.
A Place of Peace
The Krystle Campbell Peace Garden is such a memorial. At the corner of Riverside Ave and Clippership Drive in Medford, this place of peace will be seen by thousands of people every day.
While the traffic and jets flying overhead may not make for a peaceful setting, the garden is a place of peace. A place to sit with your own thoughts in a beautiful setting.
It is a place to remember Krystle, Martin, Sean and Lingzi.
Krystle Campbell Peace Garden Dedication
As I sat there waiting for the ceremony to begin I looked around at the empty seats and wondered if maybe this wasn’t important to most people. My throat was tight and my jaw was clenched. I was glad to be wearing sunglasses.
Sitting alone, one moment I was far away, deep in my memories. The next moment I was watching the giant flag hanging from the fire truck or watching the crowd.
While getting ready, I didn’t know what to wear. A suit? Running clothes? My head wasn’t clear. I wanted to be respectful but not be over the top. I decided to wear a Boston Marathon jacket and hat. I am a runner after all.
No one else wore anything running related and I felt like a spectacle in my orange jacket. Only once while walking in the park did someone ask me if I was there and I simply said “no, not that day.”
The dedication was wonderful. The Medford Police, MIT Police and Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Honor
Guards presented colors and we all stood and pledged allegiance. Then Stacie Clayton sang the National Anthem and so did many in the crowd.
Mayor Stephanie Burke and Former Mayer Michael McGlynn spoke as did Senator Markey, David McGillivray and others. The speeches were all brief and meaningful.
Before the unveiling of the Memorial Plaques, Han Nah Son performed Waltz in A Minor by Frederic Chopin. Lingzi Lu was learning to play this song at the time of her death.
In my mind I saw her at the piano working to master the intricate melodies and rhythms of this composition. I could see the concentration on her face and laugh and smile when she made a mistake in practice.
It was not an easy composition but it was one that she selected and wanted to master. As I listened to the music I felt that I got to know her soul and personality in a way words could never convey.
When the song was finished, Krystle’s father walked to the podium with a cane. He spoke briefly and seemed uncomfortable in front of the crowd. It must have been very difficult for him.
He was then joined by his wife and they walked into the Peace Garden with Mayor Burke to unveil Krystle’s plaque.
Then the Richard and Collier families entered the garden one after the other and unveiled their sons’ plaques. A monk from the Buddhist Temple just down the street unveiled Lingzi’s plaque.
Roseann Sdoia, who was injured at the finish line, gave a brief reflection. Rabbi Braham David gave the Benediction and then the Medford High Orchestra played a brief musical interlude.
With that the dedication ceremony was complete and we were all free to enter the Krysle Campbell Peace Garden and view the fountain and the plaques.
The Garden and walkways were very crowded but no one pushed or lingered to long at any one plaque. The camera man from WBZ was very respectful and went out of his way to not interfere with people taking a moment to reflect.
After viewing each plaque, the fountain and taking in the garden I walked home.
I was glad that I was able to attend and be a small part of this dedication and remembrance. This garden will always be there for all of us and I plan to stop by once in a while and remember.
I also hope that perhaps runners will find a route that takes them past the Peace Garden on some of their runs. Having a water stop there would be wonderful
I think they would appreciate seeing runners come by.
These links were live when checked on October 1st.