ACA victims remembered on second anniversary
It's been two years since tragedy struck at the American Civic Association. On April 3, 2009, a lone gunman entered the immigrant services center in Binghamton, killing 13 people before turning the weapon on himself. Sunday, family and friends of the victims gathered for a memorial. Our Janelle Burrell reports.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- "April 3, 2009, Mima was not supposed to be here. I cannot forget, I took the telephone call where she was requested to come here," said Lubomyr Zobniw.
Two years later, Zobniw remembers it as though it was yesterday.
"It's a tragedy that has really reshaped everything," he said.
His wife Maria, whom he called Mima, was a counselor at the American Civic Association, filling in for a friend that April day. The mother of four was one of thirteen killed when a lone gunman enter the immigrant services before taking his own life.
Sunday, friends and family of the victims gathered at the ACA to mark the two year anniversary, which for most was equally as difficult as the first.
"It is very fast, but it is very heavy for us," said Samir al-Salahi, who lost his wife. "A lot of bad things, and remember it's not easy for us to move forward."
"I just can’t imagine what's it's like for the families that lost a loved one," added Binghamton Mayor, Matt Ryan, "but we just have to keep pressing on, they show a great spirit," which families say has been bolstered by the continued outpouring of support.
"They've been amazing. This whole community has really helped along the way just with the entire healing process," said Jeffrey King, the son of Bobbie King, who was killed.
A process that continues to have its challenges for some like Zobniw, but in one thing he takes comfort.
"We had a fantastic life and it's unfortunate it ended, but my children have still the memories of it." Memories he and those the victims left behind vow to never forget.
A memorial park has been planned in honor of the victims. So far, organizers have raised $150,000 of the $200,000 needed to complete the project.
For more information on how you can help, visit www.acamemorial.org.