As the new decade is starting, we want to pause to remember those who have died over the past few years. There’s often both a private and a public component to memorializing the death of people who are well-known or in the news. Here are some public tributes created in D.C. to honor some of these lives.
When John McCain died in 2018, people left flowers and a naval officer’s cap outside his beloved Senate office building.
Barbara Parker laid shoes in memory of her daughter Alison as part of a one-day installation in 2018 on the Capitol grounds, with shoes representing children killed by gun violence. Alison Parker was a news reporter in Virginia who was killed while broadcasting on-air, along with her cameraman. The killer was a man who had been fired from the CBS affiliate two years before for disruptive conduct.
Thomas Dwight Spriggs and Jesus Antonio Llanes-Datil
A wooden cutout served as a temporary memorial for the two homeless men, Thomas Dwight Spriggs and Jesus Antonio Llanes-Datil, fatally struck by a driver while they were sitting on benches in a park on Pennsylvania Ave NW on a summer night in July 2019.
Tributes left in front of the Supreme Court when Justice Scalia died in 2016 included a jar of applesauce and a bunch of broccoli, references to some of his famous colorful sayings. In cases involving the Affordable Care Act, his dissent referred to the reasoning of the justices in the majority as “pure applesauce,” and questioned during oral arguments whether the mandate to purchase health insurance was similar to a mandate to buy broccoli.
Hugh Washington and Ahkii Washington-Scruggs
Hugh Washington and his 17-year-old son Ahkii were shot inside their apartment in July 2019, in a crime yet unsolved.
Candles spell out the names of Hugh Washington and Ahkii Washington-Scruggs at a memorial outside their Trinidad apartment building where they were slain.
A football teammate of Ahkii Washington-Scruggs signs his varsity jersey with his number 26 at a memorial at Dunbar High School.
Memorials for bicyclists
Ghost bikes are bikes painted white to memorialize where a bicyclist has died in traffic.
Malik Habib died in 2018 when the tires of his bicycle got stuck in the trolley tracks on H St. NE and he fell into the path of a charter bus.
Jeffrey Long was killed in 2018 on M St. by a truck driver making a right turn across a bike lane.
Bike advocate Dave Salovesh was killed in 2019 by the speeding driver of a stolen van. Friends of his share memories of him at the temporary ghost bike placed at 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE. Less than a month later the ghost bike was destroyed in another car crash.
Matthew Shepard died in 1998, but it was not until 2018 that his parents decided on a place for his ashes, in a crypt at the National Cathedral. A Pride flag was put in the ground outside the Cathedral during the interment service.
A mural by Jah-One on the Holiday Market near Somerset Prep DC school is dedicated to 15-year-old Maurice Scott, who was fatally struck by a bullet in May 2019 as he was walking to a convenience store.
Lying in state in the Capitol
There have also been some very public deaths honored in D.C., with viewings inside the Capitol. Pictured above are the memorial cards given out at the viewing for George Bush, the guest book at the viewing for Elijah Cummings, and the lines waiting to get into the viewing for Billy Graham.
Best wishes to everyone in honoring the past and looking forward to the next decade.