Mourners gathered Sunday night for a vigil at the "Guns Into Plowshares" sculpture on the Eastern Mennonite University campus. The group honored 17 victims of a Florida high school shooting. The sculpture, a symbol of non-violence, is located between College Avenue and Park Avenue adjacent to the Sadie Hartzler Library. (Photo by Stephen Swofford/Daily News-Record)

‘Guns Into Plowshares’ sculpture is the site of a vigil for Florida shooting victims

A vigil hosted by Trinity Presbyterian Church/Rally the Valley gathered at Eastern Mennonite University on Sunday evening to honor and commemorate the 17 students and staff killed last Wednesday by a young man with an assault weapon in Parkland, Florida.

The group used as their gathering place the immense “Guns Into Plowshares” sculpture located on campus. The 16-foot-tall, 4-ton sculpture depicting a plow is covered with more than 3,000 handguns. It was dedicated in an October 2017 ceremony during which speaker Daryl Byler, executive director of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding reminded the gathered of the prevalence of gun violence in the United States.

The sculpture in daylight. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

“Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, just last week, are only a few of the horrific shootings that have violently interrupted the past two decades,” he said.

Yet another mass shooting was added to that list on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

According to WHSV coverage, speakers mourned the loss of those in Parkland before directing their anger to politicians — including Representative Bob Goodlatte, who has received money from the National Rifle Association.

Among those interviewed was Harrisonburg High School student Joshua Lucas. “The fact that this happens, that it’s allowed to happen, is just ridiculous,” he said. “We need to say and be heard that this is not okay.

Discussion on “‘Guns Into Plowshares’ sculpture is the site of a vigil for Florida shooting victims

  1. Being silent before “Guns Into Plowshares” was a meaningful piece of my return visit to Eastern Mennonite for the 100th anniversary and my 50th class reunion last October. The sculpture calls one to ask, “What can I do to replace gun use with peaceful interactions?”

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