Artist Gordon Huether’s ‘Eternal Flame’ Memorial to Atlanta’s Murdered/Missing Children Set for Unveiling June 27, 2023

Written on June 13, 2023

ATLANTA | JUNE13, 2023 – — A dedication event is set June 27 for a just-completed memorial to honor and remember the 30 victims who were slain during the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979 to 1981. Mayor Andre Dickens, Former Mayor Bottoms, City Council Members, victims’ families, the memorial’s artist and other key people will unveil and dedicate the artwork, which is located at City Hall grounds.

The Eternal Flame Memorial

The Eternal Flame memorial by international artist Gordon Huether of Napa, CA, includes a 55-foot-long remembrance wall with the name of each victim mounted next to an accompanying shelf for mourners to place special mementos in honor of a child lost too soon. Seating faces the expansive wall, where visitors can spend time, contemplate, and pay their respects. The wall’s composition of Corten steel gives the memorial a strong, enduring impact as it weathers into a rust-colored patina.

Eternal Flame Memorial

“My goal in designing Eternal Flame was to commemorate the immeasurable loss suffered by the families and friends of the victims and by the entire City of Atlanta, and provide a space for remembrance and healing,” said Huether. “It also pays homage to those who aided in the searches, recovery, and community-wide mourning in the aftermath of this collective tragedy. It’s not just about the past, though, as the monument offers a reminder to the community to safeguard and support all of Atlanta’s children.”

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.

The memorial has been a long-desired goal of the victims’ families and elected officials and reached a key milestone in 2020 when then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms established the Atlanta Children’s Memorial Task Force. Funding followed quickly and Huether was selected to create a sculpture to fulfill the community’s vision.

Read more / see images about the Eternal Flame Memorial project: