Indiana AIDS Memorial

AIDS Memorial with sun peeking through ribbon statue. The Indiana AIDS Memorial was unveiled at Crown Hill Cemetery on Sunday, October 29, 2000. Funded by the Indiana AIDS Fund, the Joseph F. Miller Foundation, and Crown Hill Cemetery, the Indiana AIDS Memorial was the nation's first permanent AIDS memorial in a cemetery and only the second anywhere in the country.

A ten-foot tall bronze sculpture depicting two crossed hands forming the international AIDS symbol is the centerpiece of the memorial. The hands stand before limestone tablets on which the names of people who have died from AIDS are inscribed. Sculptor Guy R.Grey said, "I don't think I've ever worked this hard in my life. But it's worth it."

The memorial dedication program, "A Day of Remembrance, Celebration and Recognition," was a gathering filled with dance, music, and poetry on a beautiful wooded hillside in the historic section of the cemetery near the foot of the Crown.

Dancer/choreographers Melli Hoppe and Preeti Vasudevan collaborated with jazz artist Keni Washington to present a new piece, "Death of the Sun." There were poetry recitations by Rose Kleiman, Artistic Director of the Edyvean Repertory Theatre and Ron Spencer, Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre on the Square. A choir composed of cast members from the American Cabaret Theatre sang an original anthem written especially for the memorial by David Brunhoeler. Attendees offered personal messages on long-stem flowers contributed by Indianapolis master florist, Coby Palmer.

Some thoughts on the day came from Michael Wallace from the Indiana AIDS Fund who said, "It is believed that the memorial will serve as a visual reminder that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not over and of the need for continued and increased prevention efforts. It is also believed that the memorial will serve as a support and healing mechanism to those who have lost loved ones to HIV disease and to those who are currently infected or affected by HIV."

Others expressed their sentiments on the day of the dedication thusly: "It's a nice way to recognize people you've lost;" "We need reminders;" "I think it's fantastic Indiana is in the heart of the nation and the first to place a ribbon at the heart of our country;" "I miss my friends;" and "This is a reminder the HIV pandemic is not over."

"Throughout its history, Crown Hill has represented the lives of Indianapolis-area families," said Keith Norwalk, President of Crown Hill Cemetery, "and the events that have been significant to the community. Memorializing victims of AIDS does both."

Memorialization is on-going at the Indiana AIDS Memorial and is available to anyone who wishes to have an inscription added to the limestone tablets for his or her dearly departed. Contact (317) 925-3800 for information.

"Amazing Grace"

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved someone like me!
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind...but now, I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me here thus far,
And grace will lead me home.