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T-shirt memorial shows hard reality of Missouri children killed by gun homicide

The traveling memorial will be on display around St. Louis through the end of July.

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — This Memorial Day weekend brings attention to many static, metal memorials that have been around for decades.

It’s also shining a light on a new memorial, which is ever-changing and made of cloth.

The traveling display memorializes children killed in Missouri by gun homicide.

“As you can see, there are 46 T-shirts, and the T-shirts correspond to the age and gender of the child victims,” said Mary Gross of Moms Demand Action. “The youngest is 6 months, and the oldest is 17 years old.”

Gross was asked why organizers chose T-shirts.

“Well, that’s just classic ‘child,’” she said. It makes for quite a contrast, considering what happened to these children.

It’s an outdoor memorial. As a result, the T-shirts are weathered. They bear displays appropriate for children of different ages – hearts, Captain America, ice cream cones made out of rainbows, unicorns.

“It was developed in Springfield,” Gross said. “It’s been to Joplin. It’s been to Cape Girardeau, Washington, Missouri, and St. Charles County. It’ll be in St. Louis County, St. Louis city and it will go to Poplar Bluff, as well.”

The memorial is on display for a few weeks around the St. Louis area.

“It will be here until the end of July,” she said.

It’s not a stagnant memorial, like many we will see this holiday weekend. As this memorial has made its way across the state, it has grown. Another T-shirt is added every time another child dies from gun violence.

“There’s even a onesie there for the 6-month-old,” said Gross.

The display prompts passersby to consider the consequences.

Maureen Joseph commented as she walked by.

“It is a very sad commentary to see all those T-shirts. All those children; all that gun violence.”

Below are the St. Louis-area locations where the memorial is scheduled through June and July:

  • June 6: Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman 63108
  • June 13: First Presbyterian Church, 7200 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis 63130
  • June 20: Congregation Shaare Emeth, 11645 Ladue Road, St. Louis 63141
  • June 27: Samuel UCC, 320 N. Forsyth, St. Louis 63105
  • July 9: Peace UCC, 204 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves 63119
  • July 16: Rebirth Church, 1434 Clinton St., St. Louis 63106
  • July 23 (tentative): Daar Ul-Islam Masjid Mosque, 517 Weidman Road, Ballwin 63011