by Gail Sansbury
Some Forest Hills neighbors may have attended the 2017 lighting of the National Cathedral, so you’ll remember what an amazing and meaningful experience it was. My husband and I had never been to the Cathedral and we were not sure what to expect, but as the sun went down, the Cathedral slowly turned orange.
And in silence, all who gathered there held small candles and listened to the ringing of the funeral bell as it tolled for the victims of gun violence. It was a beautiful, solemn and inspiring experience. And it will repeated this year, as communities across the nation observe National Gun Violence Awareness Day. City halls, tall buildings, bridges, and even natural wonders like Niagara Falls will turn orange.
Here in the District, the façade of the Washington National Cathedral will again light up in orange at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7, in honor of the more than 100,000 Americans killed and injured by gun violence in our city and across the United States every year.
The Bourdon (funeral) Bell will ring 109 times at 9 p.m. in memory of Americans who die daily from gunfire. You can join with others outside – at the west end of the Cathedral – for this quiet, respectful and powerful event at which you can remember and honor those who have died and reflect on the reason the Cathedral and so many other buildings and people across the country are wearing orange. (See the list here: wearorange.org/supporters.)
The Wear Orange campaign began in Chicago on June 2, 2015, to honor Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago high school student killed in 2013 by gunfire one week after she performed at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Her friends decided on her 18th birthday, June 2, 2015, to wear orange – the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.
The Cathedral is located at 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, less than a block from the intersection of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues. It is accessible via public transportation. Above-ground parking is available. The west end faces Wisconsin Avenue.
I hope everyone who is interested can come – and let others know about the event.
For additional information, contact the Cathedral Congregation Gun Violence Prevention Group at GVP@cathedralcongregation.org or the Rev. Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Canon Missioner, at Lhamlin@cathedral.org.