PARKLAND, Fla. - The day after hundreds of students flocked to the memorial set up at Pine Trails Park to conclude their student walkout, the memorial has been picked up and put into storage for preservation.
"It’s emotional, but we’re doing the right thing for the future of the city," said Jeff Schwartz, president of the Parkland Historical Society.
For the last month, the amphitheater housed memorials for the 17 victims, but the Parkland Historical Society wanted to make sure everything is preserved for future generations.
“So that people can always look back and see what took place here, why it took place here and the sadness that it brought to our city," Schwartz said.
All kinds of tokens of love and support have accumulated over the last month around crosses and Star of David markers dedicated to each of the 17 victims.
“As we dig deeper into the piles of items, we’re finding letters that were written day one, day two, day three," Schwartz said. "Those letters are the ones that have the most emotion, the most tears.”
“It shows how much love everyone had for these 17 individuals," said Zach Friedman. "It took us hours just to pick up the flowers alone so that shows how much everyone loved them.”
The Parkland Historical Society directed volunteers to photograph, sort, catalog and box up each memento to be preserved for future display.
Among the nearly 50 volunteers were cousins of Nicholas Dworet, who packed up his memorial.
“It was nice to know that we were the ones putting it in," said Friedman, who is a cousin of Nick.
"Nick was a swimmer. He was an Olympic hopeful and 'Swim on forever' was something that I saw,'" Andrea Friedman said. "'You’ll be swimming forever.'"
The goal is to have some sort of display set up by next Valentine’s Day with all of the items that were out at Pine Trails Park.
"Hopefully it’ll be preserved forever and never be duplicated in this horrific way again," Andrea Friedman said.
The historical society will also pick up the memorial in front of Stoneman Douglas High School when the school community feels ready.