The Charleston International Airport tribute to the victims and survivors of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shootings will be a place for reflection and contemplation, and it will showcase for millions of visitors the remarkable community response that followed the tragic events of June 17, 2015.
Conceptual renderings for the tribute were presented today during the regular meeting of the Charleston County Aviation Authority Board. Planning for the tribute began in late 2015. No construction or opening date has been set.
“The tribute will be the first thing people see when they exit the gate area,” said Aviation Authority board member Margaret Seidler, who spearheaded the project on the board’s behalf. “We want this to be a place of remembrance, a place of inspiration to our visitors, and a place for those that call the Lowcountry home to celebrate this remarkable community.”
The tribute will be located in the Central Hall across from the Arrivals area. The focal point will be two five-foot-high stained glass window panes, depicting the downtown Charleston church and nine white doves. A glass partition, where the stained glass will hang, will separate the tribute from a small seating area where airport visitors can sit and view the tribute space.
In the center of the 400-square-foot space will be a round table. Encased in the table under glass will be a Bible open to the Book of Mark, Chapter 4, verses 13-20, which the Bible Study group was reading on the night of the shootings.
The tribute will also feature photographs taken by Dan Xeller of Charleston. His images of the community response after the shootings appeared in Southern Living magazine and artwork by Lowcountry artist Jonathan Green.
The tribute project and design was part of a collaborative effort under the direction of Mead & Hunt, the program manager on the airport’s terminal redevelopment project.
Separate from the airport construction project, Mead & Hunt is donating its design, architectural and program management services to the effort.
“The Charleston County Aviation Authority Board is committed to the creation of a meaningful and lasting tribute to honor the Mother Emanuel AME victims and survivors,” said board Chairman Billy Swails.
“We are the gateway to the Lowcountry,” he said. “This tribute will hopefully serve as an inspiration to those that pass through here for years to come.”
About the Charleston County Aviation Authority
The Charleston County Aviation Authority is a special purpose district established by the state of South Carolina in 1970. Independent of local county government, the Aviation Authority owns and operates Charleston International Airport, Charleston Executive Airport and Mount Pleasant Regional Airport. The Aviation Authority is governed by an 11-member board made up of local mayors, state and county elected officials and business and community leaders from the region.