Six months to the day and even the hour since an employee of the Henry Pratt Company facility in Aurora shot and killed 5 people there, families of the victims and company employees gathered to dedicate a memorial to the fallen.
A public vigil held just after the shooting to honor Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard and Trevor Wehner drew a large media contingent and hundreds of people, despite freezing rain. By contrast, the August 15 ceremony, held at Pratt under a blazing sun and blue skies, was a small, almost private affair.
A crowd of Pratt employees, wearing shirts with the words “PrattStrong” on them, encircled the families of the 5 men as they stood in front of a granite bench, set in a small, newly made garden. Inscribed with the names of the victims, it had a bouquet of flowers placed on it. One of the Aurora police officers who had been wounded by the gunman that day was there, too, standing off to one side.
After a few remarks, there was a period of silence marking the exact time of the deaths. Then family members put white roses they had been holding on the bench. A few words of thanks, and it was over. But everyone lingered for a long while after, exchanging hugs, words of condolence, and memories of those they had lost.