PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In commemoration of the 11 lives lost three years ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue, a grove of trees was planted at a local park.
Families of the victims of the synagogue shooting teamed up with the 10.27 Healing Partnership to not only pick a great location for the trees but find a spot where the trees were best needed in the area.READ MORE: Allegheny County's 911 Call Center Losing Dispatchers Who Feel Overworked
The sound of trees rustling in the breeze is a familiar one to Michele Rosenthal
“I live in Squirrel Hill and spend a lot of time walking through our parks. They’re a place where I find a lot of peace and tranquility and can gather my thoughts here,” Rosenthal said.
Now she has a new place to reflect during her walks. Eleven trees planted in a grove in Schenley Park commemorate the 11 lives lost three years ago at Tree of Life. Two of those lives were Cecil and David Rosenthal, Michele’s brothers.
“Squirrel Hill people were so kind to them, in having the trees here in a place that is special to Cecil and David,” Rosenthal said.
The idea behind the memorial grove came from a Pittsburgh Allderdice High School student who has asked to remain anonymous.READ MORE: Homeowner Convicted In Killings Of 2 Teens Smoking Marijuana Inside His Garage
“First time in my career at the parks where a teen approached us to plant a tree in commemoration,” said Vice President of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy James Snow.
Snow said the teen approached the organization following the shooting in the fall of 2018, and the trees were planted this past spring.
“We wanted people to come to the space and reflect and remember those lost too early, and just really have a moment of reflection and peace,” said Snow.
People who come to the grove will also notice a bench with a plaque that displays the names of the 11 victims. Below the names is the phrase, “May their memories forever be a blessing.”
Rosenthal says it’s those memories that help her and her family get through the tough times.
“It doesn’t get any easier. It’s hard because there hasn’t been a trial. It has still not occurred. But right now, we just try to focus on the memories,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said they also try to focus on the qualities her brothers shared with others.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Public Safety Increases Patrols For Pitt ACC Championship Game
“Kindness and compassionate and loving and caring and inquisitive and empathetic, the qualities they showed,” said Rosenthal. “I feel if more people in the world were like Cecil and David, the world would be a better place.”