Carpenter Builds 58 Crosses To Honor Las Vegas Shooting Victims
What a hearbreaking tribute.
Shots rang out during a country music concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night, leaving 59 people dead and over 500 injured. Now, a retired carpenter in Illinois named Greg Zanis has built 58 crosses by hand to honor each person who had their lives taken by the shooter on that night.
It took Zanis two days to get the crosses made and have a trip to Vegas organized, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Each wooden cross has a heart on the front and the name of a victim written on the back.
After driving across the country from Illinois to Nevada, he set up the crosses on the Las Vegas Strip, near the location of the shooting, to pay tribute.
According to the Times, he plans to leave the crosses up for 40 days and then deliver them to the families of those who died.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Zanis honored victims of mass shootings. He also made crosses for victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and more. According to AJC.com, he’s built more than 20,000 crosses in 20 years.
Why does he do it? To make an impact.
“This row of crosses will show the severity of what really happened there. More so than numbers and pictures in the paper,” he told AJC.com.
And leave an impact it did. Photos of the crosses have flooded the Internet.
Here, you can see a video of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department helping to unload all 58 crosses.
— Jackie Valley (@JackieValley) October 5, 2017
People on Twitter are responding calling this “a heartfelt tribute” and “powerful.”
God bless you #GregZanis for such an heartfelt tribute 🙏🏻❤️🇨🇦
— Tracy (@shynlovely) October 6, 2017
— maze 🐉 (@green_caffeine) October 6, 2017
Others are responding to the kindness from this man, who goes out of his way to do this for tragedies all over America.
“What a big heart he has,” one Twitter user wrote.
— Corey Rose (@CoreyRoseTV) October 6, 2017
Of course, Zanis does this for the families of the ones lost in the shooting, but there’s also a personal symbolic meaning for him behind each cross.
He told the New York Times the first cross he ever made was to honor is father-in-law, who was killed.
“That just changed my life,” Zanis told the New York Times. “My first cross was for somebody that I loved. And when I put up these crosses here, I always think of my personal loss here, too. Always.”
This is one of many tributes and vigils taking place across the country. States such as Florida, Virginia and New York held events to honor the people killed in Las Vegas, as well. You can also read more about how to help the victims and others impacted by the shooting here.
Here are more photos of memorials and ways people are banding together to help in Vegas:
Flowers at the base of the iconic sign:
More flowers created another small memorial:
Many lined up to donate blood:
Signs across Las Vegas changed their messaging to show their support:
Many digital signs provided phone numbers to help locate missing or injured loved ones:
The community writes messages of love, compassion and support:
To everyone that helped during this terrible time, we thank you.