EL PASO, Texas — Twenty-three pillars lit up Monday to commemorate the lives lost during a shooting that targeted Mexicans at the Cielo Vista Walmart one year ago — a memorial that is visible from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The white beams from the Grand Candella were contrasted later by the orange glow of lights as people lit paper lanterns and played music in Ascarte Park Monday night in a drive-thru ceremony marking a year since the attack. There was also a Catholic Mass held Monday evening for the families of the victims, but the service was closed to the public.
Events to commemorate the shooting in El Paso were reshaped by the coronavirus. The pandemic added peril to the kind of gatherings that would have otherwise marked the grim anniversary, but did not stop the city from showing unity and resilience.
On Monday, the Walmart where the shooting took place delayed opening until noon. Residents and store employees wearing masks laid flowers and lit candles at the monument. Mourners observed a moment of silence at 10:39 a.m. — the same time that the first call came to police about the shooting.
A group, some dressed as Aztec dancers and others wearing masks, then walked from that memorial to the site of an older one carrying 23 crosses. Fernando Garcia, whose group helped organize the march, said it was demonstration against racism, xenophobia and white supremacy.
After sundown, the lights on the Star of the Mountain overlooking the city flashed once for each of the 23 victims.