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Family bittersweet about plans for Kansas City, Missouri, memorial to honor murder victims under age 18

Plans underway for a memorial in a Kansas City, Missouri, park to honor the city's murder victims under the age of 18
Monica Henderson
Posted at 11:02 PM, May 15, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's an honor tinged with sorrow for families who will have a lasting memorial at Hibbs Park in Kansas City to remember their children taken too soon by gun violence.

“We want to heal and they say time heals everything," said Monica Henderson. "Time doesn't heal grief." 

It's not easy for Henderson to look at pictures of her son Brian, a murder victim at age 12.

“ I know what it feels like when it first happens and everybody is surrounding you and holding you and I also know what it feels like when the phone don’t ring no more,” Henderson said. 

Since Brian's death, Henderson and her husband hold on tight to the memories.

“Parents who have lost children, of course we want to keep our baby's names alive,” Henderson said. “We don’t want people to forget. "We’ve already lost them physically and we don’t want their memory to be forgotten."

According to KCMO Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw, after a few years of planning and $140,000, the city and the Parks and Recreation Department are planning to build a memorial to honor children under age 18 murdered in KCMO.

“We've seen far too many of our babies, far too many of our children, losing their life to violence,” Parks-Shaw said.

She says the city is now asking families to come forward with names that will be engraved in the memorial. 

“Each year, we will have new submissions of names,” said Parks-Shaw. "I would love for there to be a time where we don't have to add any names to it.” 

Honored that their son will be recognized, but for Henderson and her husband, it’s bittersweet. 

“As happy as I am that I got that call that he is going to be included, just sitting here talking to you and visualizing that, is already emotional,” said Henderson. “What is that going to be like to go and have to look through all of these names to find my baby's name.” 

The city is asking for families to submit the names of children under 18 who were killed in Kansas City to make sure their names are on the memorial.

You can find that form on the city's Parks and Recreation website.

To submit a child's name, you can scroll and click form to submit a child name.