MARION, S.C. (WBTW)– An opening ceremony for Amazing Grace Park in Marion was held Friday. Family, friends and colleagues of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney gathered to remember him.
Pinckney was one of nine killed in Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church shooting in 2015. Pinckney’s wife called the ceremony significant because it took place on what would have been his birthday.
“A man that was loved by so many, a man that will be missed by so many,” Jennifer Pinckney said. “I just want to thank each and every one of you for sharing in this special moment, this special occasion because it really and truly represents the man that Clementa was.”
“A superior and exceptional man that embodied what it meant to be a son of South Carolina,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “We were proud of him.”
McMaster called the opening an important day for the state and the country. The park features a bust of Pinckney and statues of wings to represent the others who died that day. It also features musical instruments.
“He was also a man of music,” Pinckney’s daughter Malana said. “So go around, bang the drums, hit the xylophone, it’s going to be amazing.”
State Sen. Gerald Malloy praised Clementa Pinckney’s cousin, State Sen. Kent Williams, for spearheading the project.
“I think we should all give Senator Williams a round of applause for his vision, for the work that he has done to put this whole project together,” Malloy said. Pinckney’s daughter hopes the park will serve to preserve his legacy.
“This park is a physical representation of the legacy he left behind,” Eliana Pinckney said. “But it’s every person that comes into this park every day that has the responsibility to uphold his legacy that he would be doing if he were here.” The grand opening continues Saturday with a festival. The park sits across from the Marion County Museum, which features an exhibit on Pinckney.