A million-dollar Balinese-style temple that will be burned to ground in May was a gathering point for students of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on Thursday as they remembered their 14 classmates and three teachers killed a year ago today in one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings.
The Temple of Time, an ornate giant wooden palace designed by the California-based artist David Best, and built with the aid of a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, was erected in neighbouring Coral Springs as a temporary memorial for the victims of the Parkland shooting. By early afternoon Thursday, dozens of MSD students and their families had arrived to write messages on the temple’s plywood walls or lay flowers and other momentos.
The solemn gathering was one of a number of commemorative events in Parkland and neighbouring cities on the first anniversary of the tragedy. Thousands were expected to attend an interfaith service later in the day at Pine Trails Park, site of the official memorials and a vigils one year ago.
In the tradition of many of Best’s other works, including at the notorious Burning Man festivals in Nevada, the Coral Springs temple will be set alight in late May in “the burn”, which the artist says is “a casting off of the demons of pain grief and sorrow.”
“We couldn’t call it a temple of healing, I don’t have that power,” said Best, who was emotional as he hugged many of the students. “The process of healing takes a long time.”