LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Survey results show a strong push to build a 1 October memorial at the festival grounds where the shooting took place, and while that may help some heal, not everyone feels the same way.
“It’s more than a piece of property," said Joseph Gerrans, who worked security on the night of the shooting and still has vivid memories of that day.
"To us, it’s hallowed grounds. It’s our Arlington National Cemetery," he said. "It’s something we need to remember."
Gerrans supports having a 1 October memorial at the site, saying it can bring some healing for survivors and honor the 60 people who were killed.
“A lot of us that night, we’re trying to find that piece of us that we lost that night," he said, "and we would love to walk through that property."
“It’s a place where there should be something there that reminds us that we lost many of our family and friends that night,” Gerrans said.
In a survey put out earlier this month with results unveiled today, about 66% of people said they felt it is “extremely” or “very important” that a memorial be built on the festival site.
But not everyone agrees. Fewer than 20% surveyed felt it was "extremely" or "very important" to not have a memorial there.
Of those people in the minority, many said they lost a member of their immediate family or wrote in that they had issues with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Everyone’s opinions and their ideas are very much welcomed, and I think this is the beginning stages," said Mynda Smith, a 1 October Memorial Committee member.
Smith says she was glad to see more than 6,000 responses to the survey. She says while there’s a strong push for the memorial to be at the festival site, the committee isn’t rushing on a decision.
“I think we really need to know size-wise what we’re looking at," she said. "I think we need to go with emotion because the location of it can definitely be a huge factor with all of that."
Smith says there will continue to be talks and meetings to ensure everyone has a voice.
“We need to make sure that family members and injured and survivors really have a full chance at being heard,” she said.
Gerrans says he understands some people process trauma differently but says he and many other survivors believe the road to healing involves having the memorial at the festival site.
“It has to be that site. It needs to happen at that location," he said. "We can’t have any alternate locations. I mean, it happened there."
MGM Resorts, owner of the land at the festival site, says it’s supportive of having a memorial there and released a statement saying:
“Establishing an official, permanent memorial where community members, survivors and loved ones can gather, reflect and honor the victims and heroes of the tragic events of October 1 is vital to the healing process. The committee has taken important first steps in those efforts, and we applaud their compassionate and thoughtful approach. We look forward to further progress as the committee continues its work and long-term recommendations are identified and considered.”