FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – For the third year in a row, Valentine’s Day is a difficult reminder to Parkland families of the tragedy that changed their lives forever.
17 students and faculty members were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.
Starting at 10 a.m. the City of Fort Lauderdale will be holding a special memorial ceremony at Esplanade Park.
That will be followed by a moment of silence at 10:17 a.m., a symbolic time chosen to honor the 17 lives lost.
Sunday’s event comes after the school district held their own remembrance ceremonies on Friday.
Students at several schools across Broward County took a moment to stand in silence, as they remembered the victims.
Superintendent Robert Runcie also encouraged students to channel that emotion by taking part in a series of service projects, including a supply drive that was held for first responders at South Broward High School.
Meantime, several family members of those who were killed that day have embarked on their project.
Led by Manuel Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin, they created a series of so-called shame cards, which they will send to congress.
Their goal is to call out lawmakers for not taking any further action on gun control.
It’s an issue that is very important to them, especially after the events that took place at Stoneman Douglas.
Below are some of the events scheduled for Sunday:
All day – Broward County Public Schools leads heartfelt tributes, vigils and expressions of service and love with its partners, including HandsOn Broward, the Interfaith Council, the United Way of Broward County, the City of Parkland, the City of Coral Springs, and Children’s Services Council of Broward County. More info: browardschools.com/serviceandlove
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Counselors and life coaches from the Harmony Development Center will be available at Cypress Hammock Park for youth and families experiencing trauma, mental health and/or substance abuse problems.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Eagles’ Haven (5655 Coral Ridge Drive, Coral Springs) will host a number of inspiring creativity activities and support services such as meditation, rock painting, bracelet making, culminating in a Healing Drum Circle. A candle lighting ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. and a moment of silence and the release of 17 white doves will be at 2:21 p.m.
5:30 p.m. – City of Parkland Community Commemoration at Pine Trails Park (10555 Trails End, Parkland). Event will include a brief ceremony, on-site therapy dogs, and 17 display boards where the community can write messages. Immediately following the ceremony, a commemorative video will be played on the amphitheater stage and live-streamed on the city’s social media platforms. This year, in lieu of a service project, the City has partnered with Food For The Poor, a non-profit providing services to the poorest of the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Donations will only be accepted online at foodforthepoor.org/msdcommunity. Funds raised will honor the 17 lives lost by building 20 new homes for families living in desperate need in the community of Buenos Aires located in the municipality of Dulce Nombre, Copán, Honduras. More info: cityofparkland.org/MSD17; live streams at www.facebook.com/copfl, twitter.com/CityParklandFL or instagram.com/cityofparkland/.
5:30 p.m. – Margate Presents “A day of love and remembrance.” Vigil at Margate Sports Complex (1695 Banks Rd., Margate). Will release 17 lanterns at 6:17 p.m. following a short speaking engagement by city officials and guest speaker Hunter Pollack, a school safety activist whose younger sister, Meadow, was murdered at Stoneman Douglas. More info: facebook.com/events/2889870101302007.
6 p.m. – Pembroke Pines will hold a prayer vigil at the Charles F. Dodge City Center Plaza (601 City Center Way).