Many officials and residents participated in a walk through Highland Park on the one-year anniversary of the parade shooting, which the mayor said left seven victims “senselessly murdered.”
The City of Highland Park is hosting five events Tuesday with the theme “We are Highland Park” structured to allow community members the opportunity to participate “in the way that is most comfortable and meaningful for them,” the city said.
The first event, a remembrance ceremony was held at City Hall at 10 a.m. Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering spoke and was surrounded by several local officials.
“I am so proud of how our community has supported one another these last 12 months and today. I wish it were not because of a horrific act of mass gun violence,” Rotering said.
“Last summer’s shooting was the bloodiest day we’ve ever experienced in Highland Park. Seven precious people were senselessly murdered and dozens more horrifically injured and thousands were traumatized by a hateful and cowardly individual who opened fire with an assault weapon during a uniquely American holiday parade,” the mayor said.
A community walk through the city took place to “symbolize the reclaiming of the 2022 parade route,” city officials said.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Monday that gun violence has destroyed too many parts of American life.
“One year after the July 4 attack, we honor those who lost their lives, those who were injured physically, and those who experienced trauma, fear, grief, and loss. Gun violence shattering a celebration of America only deepened the pain for Highland Park, for Lake County, and for a nation that continues to reel from gun violence on a daily basis in every community,” Rinehart said.
Congressman Brad Schneider said Tuesday that he recognizes this year’s Independence Day has a “very different feeling in my hometown of Highland Park.”
“Today, we solemnly remembered the lives of the seven beautiful people murdered that day: Katie Goldstein, Irina McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy, Stephen Strauss, Jacquelyn Sundheim, Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, and Eduardo Uvaldo. We extended our love and support for the more than 40 people wounded and the countless others affected that day,” Schneider said.
“And we gave thanks to the hundreds of heroes: people attending the parade who jumped into action to help friends and strangers alike; local police officers and fire fighters who rushed to the scene; first responders from across the region who came to assist our community; and mental health professionals who offered their services in our time of greatest need,” he added.
A picnic at Sunset Woods Park followed the city’s community walk.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, among other politicians, attended the walk.
“Today, I joined those in Highland Park to pay tribute to the lives lost in last year’s shooting. This anniversary marks a day of remembrance and serves as a testament to this community’s strength. We must and will end the plague of gun violence. It does not have to be this way,” Pritzker said.
The city partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to provide entertainment at Wolters Field Tuesday evening to celebrate Independence Day, first responders and the community.
A concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, which has already hit capacity, is expected to begin at 7:30 p.m.