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Las Vegas Healing Garden

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1015 S. Casino Center Dr.

Las Vegas, NV 89101

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Free

24 Hours

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A small park dedicated to the victims of the October 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the life of 58 people and injured hundreds of others.

Where is it?

About ten blocks south of Fremont Street near Charleston and Las Vegas Blvd.

Is it worth the cost?

It's free but would be worth it if there were an admission charge.

What else do I need to know?

Bring tissues.

What's the bottom line?

In a world gone mad it's comforting that something like this happened.

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FULL REVIEW

In the wake of the worst mass shooting in US history, it would have been understandable if the residents of Las Vegas sat around numb with grief and horror for a little while. But instead they came together and did something hopeful, the result of which is this beautiful garden dedicated to the memory of those that were lost.

The idea was conceived by landscape designers Jay Pleggenkhule and Daniel Perez, who contacted the city of Las Vegas and quickly sold them on the idea of donating a small chunk of land near Downtown that was going to be made into a dog park. They managed to raise $300,000 and get donations of everything from trees to concrete, then massed so many volunteers to build it that people were standing around waiting for someone to take a break so they could get in and help. It was built in two days and was open less than a week after the shooting.

Whenever you question how human beings can do such evil things, remember that they can also do remarkable things as well.

At the center of the memorial is a concrete heart, out of which springs a large oak tree. Just on the other side of it is a Remembrance Wall with pictures and personal mementos of each of the 58 victims. Wrapping around the whole thing is a walkway along which 58 young trees have been planted. It's simple and yet undeniably powerful and even a little overwhelming. There were a handful of people there when I visited and all of them were silent except for the occasional sniffle. One young man sat on the ground in front of the wall, his head down and his hand touching the picture of one of the victims - he was there when I got there and he was there when I left.

Visiting Vegas is usually about the opposite of reality. It is a disconnection from the real world that specializes in excess and when you visit you are perfectly justified in wanting to embrace that - to forget about the harsh realities that we hear about every day, all day. But the next time you visit Vegas, consider taking a few minutes to step back into the real world and visit this place. You may leave Las Vegas with less money in your pocket, but you'll still be a little richer for it.

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