Thank you for including my photograph in this excellent piece on acknowledging public grief, @Sapiens_Org, written by archeologist Richard Wilshusen.
In many ways, Washington, DC tends to be a nidus for public grief, and because of that there aren’t a shortage of photos showing its impact. One of the first photographs I ever took here was of a ghost bicycle with a message from a grieving mother to her daughter.
I will never forget the public grieving after the murder of 49 people in Orlando, Florida in 2016, in Washington, DC, for its sadness, and also because of what I learned.
As a man in his mid-60s who has lived through the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis, and who has been devastated by my own personal losses of loved ones to suicide and depression, I know the necessity of grief. And as a professional archaeologist who has been involved with the repatriation and reburial of Native American remains, I have witnessed the power of collective grief in unifying tribal elders as they worked to have ancestral remains returned from museums for appropriate reburial. As a society, we must recognize the need to grieve in all cases of mass trauma and public tragedy.
Grief makes sense of loss and opens us to rebuilding all that is meaningful in life. Society would benefit if public grief were acknowledged more.