It was 20 years ago tomorrow that Matthew Shepard died, after being gay-bashed and left for dead, tied to a wood fence in Laramie, Wyoming. Now it’s being reported that his ashes will be finally placed in a crypt columbarium on the lower level of the Washington National Cathedral, near President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
“I think it’s the perfect, appropriate place,” Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, said in an interview to the NYTimes. “We are, as a family, happy and relieved that we now have a final home for Matthew, a place that he himself would love.”
Mr. Shepard told the outlet they considered spreading his ashes over the mountains and plains of Wyoming, but still wanted a place they could visit to talk to him. At the cathedral, not only will Matthew’s loved ones be able to visit him, visitors from around the world can, too.
“It’s a place where there’s an actual chance for others to sit and reflect about Matthew, and about themselves, and about their friends,” Mr. Shepard said.
A service will be held for the public October 26, presided over by Washington’s Episcopal bishop, Mariann Edgar Budde, and the first openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson. (via NewNowNext; Photo: MediaPunch)
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On the night of October 6, 1998, Matthew met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming. McKinney and Henderson decided to give Shepard a ride home. They subsequently drove the car to a remote, rural area, and proceeded to rob, pistol-whip, and torture Shepard, tie him to a fence, and leave him to die–all because he was gay. It was reported that Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by his tears. This crime was the impetus for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Take a moment to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you today. Take a moment to erase hate in your community however you can. #MSF20 #EraseHate
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“My son Matthew did not look like a winner. After all, he was small for his age—weighing, at the most, 110 pounds, and standing only 5’2” tall. He was rather uncoordinated and wore braces from the age of 13 until the day he died. However, in his all too brief life, he proved that he was a winner. My son—a gentle, caring soul—proved that he was as tough as, if not tougher than, anyone I have ever heard of or known. On October 6, 1998, my son tried to show the world that he could win again. On October 12, 1998, my first-born son—and my hero—lost. On October 12, my first-born son—and my hero— died 50 days before his 22nd birthday. He died quietly, surrounded by family and friends, with his mother and brother holding his hand.” -Dennis Shepard #RememberMatt #MatthewShepard #NeverForget #LGBTQ #erasehate