WAUKESHA, Wis. - A Waukesha commission is gathering ideas on how to honor the victims of the Christmas parade attack. The hope is that the memorial will be dedicated on the two-year anniversary: Nov. 21, 2023.
Before then, the commission must decide what it will actually look like, and they're asking the public for help.
The day after the city was changed forever, a temporary memorial at Veterans Park in Waukesha became a place for the community and really anyone to heal. Now, a commission is looking for a permanent solution.
"This is a very difficult process for people," said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly. "One, it's emotional. Two, it's new for every single person on the commission."
Memorial for parade attack victims at Waukesha's Veterans Park
The Waukesha Parade Memorial Commission includes various local stakeholders, including some family members of the six people killed in the parade attack. Their meeting Thursday night, March 3 was the first chance to share ideas on what the permanent memorial might look like.
"Just a flow of ideas -- whether it be trees, bridges, or whatever it was and you hear the different emotion that comes out of it," said Jerry Couri, commission chair. "I mean, an eternal flame."
For now, they are only ideas. The commission appears set on including small markers along Main Street, the parade route, to lead toward a larger space that allows for reflection in a more quiet setting.
"To acknowledge this and to remember it and to honor the people who were killed and injured is extremely important for the community," said Reilly.
Bat placed beside memorial for Jackson Sparks and other Waukesha parade attack victims
It's an effort to ensure the city and community never forget the tragedy that happened here.
"You need to remember so that you have not just a healing, but you begin to try to find a way to protect other communities and/or your community," said Couri.
Other ideas include dedicated benches, a memorial garden and more.
City staff say they may use social media or another avenue for citizens to share their opinion on what this memorial should look like and where it should go.