City Hall Grounds | Corten steel main wall 55’ -0”, Corten wall @ bench 41’ -6”, Concrete bench and retaining wall | Atlanta, GA | 2023
In 2020, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms established the Atlanta Children’s Memorial Task Force, which commissioned artist Gordon Huether to create the Eternal Flame Memorial. This monument honors and remembers the 30 victims who were slain during the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979 to 1981. It commemorates the immeasurable loss suffered by the families of the victims and the city of Atlanta. The Eternal Flame Memorial also pays homage to those who aided in the searches, recovery, and healing in the aftermath of this collective tragedy. The monument encourages the community to safeguard and support all of Atlanta’s children.
The name of each victim is mounted on a curved, 55-foot-long remembrance wall, with an accompanying shelf for mourners to place a special memento in honor of the child lost too soon. Seating faces the memorial wall, where visitors can spend time, contemplate, and pay their respects.
At the far end of the memorial, an Eternal Flame burns as an enduring and inspiring tribute to the victims and all those affected. The semi-enclosed space creates a symbolic embrace meant to comfort and sustain visitors.
Centered within the semi-enclosed space is a granite inlay engraved with Pearl Cleage’s A Poem for Our Children. Ms. Cleage is an acclaimed novelist, essayist, playwright, and activist, and was named Atlanta’s first Poet Laureate in 2021. She was commissioned to compose the poem to commemorate the victims.