ABOUT THIS BOOK
On Sunday, October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire from thirty-two floors above a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. The event left fifty-eight people killed, more than 860 injured, and thousands psychologically wounded. To date, this was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in the last seventy years. Despite the chaos and terror, first responders, concert-goers, and passersby aided victims and survivors. Nearby businesses, hotels, and the university provided safety and services. Medical personnel rushed to area hospitals. And as the scope of the tragedy unfolded, the people of Las Vegas flooded blood donation centers and offered food, water, comfort, and care. And they created a garden—The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden.
The story of the garden unfolds through photographs and the words of survivors, first responders, family members, medical professionals, counselors, and members of the community. In only a matter of days, volunteers and local businesses transformed a vacant downtown lot into a serene urban oasis. Families and friends of those lost in the tragedy soon adopted each of the fifty-eight trees planted in honor of their loved ones, and visitors left behind colorful mementos, including painted rocks, photographs, and ornaments, as well as words of encouragement, love, loss, and strength.
In the aftermath of 1 October, an often misunderstood city revealed its soul under the most heartbreaking of circumstances. The inspirational voices and stories from a community touched by tragedy provide comfort and encouragement. And the organic response to the unthinkable is a testament to how one community came together at its darkest hour, chose hope over despair, unity over hate.