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Husband of mass shooting victim explains importance of ACA Memorial

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – This year marks the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Binghamton’s history, when a shooter opened fire inside the American Civic Association, killing 13 people.

On Wednesday morning, the community will gather at the ACA Memorial in Binghamton to remember the 13 lives that were lost during the April 3, 2009 tragedy.

One of the many lives forever affected is David Marsland. His wife was one of the victims.

Hong Xui Mao was an amazing woman,” said Marsland. “She was the kind of person who was blessed with good brain chemistry. She got out of bed every day very very happy.”

Marsland describes April 3, 2009 as one of the hardest days of his life.

I got up in the morning, kissed my wife goodbye and went to work.I got a phone call 40 minutes later from someone down the street who was on lockdown saying there has apparently been a shooting where your wife is and we don’t know what’s going on. There was pandemonium there. i asked a friend of mine what should I do at work and he said, just go,” said Marsland.

After months of grieving and heartbreak with the loss of his wife, Marsland along with family members of the other victims and former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, helped build a memorial in their honor.

When the victims families some of them started meeting and saying how are we going to honor these beautiful lives and that was a very important part of the healing of our community and the healing of the people who went through this tragedy in a personal way,” said Ryan.

The results are 13 birds circling a broken pillar that’s surrounded by 13 plaques.

Each of the plaques was designed by a family members and everybody got to tell their own stories and some people got to tell no story which is a story in itself,” said Marsland.

That’s the way we want to remember those people as points of light who were startled by something,” said Ryan. “It’s still hard. It’s still really hard when you think about that.”

Taking care of the memorial, Marsland hopes it continues to be a source of healing a hope for the community and others affected by a senseless shooting.

People driving through town that night here in Binghamton will be thinking of that tragedy and will look at our memorial and realize that there is a light at every tunnel,” said Marsland.

A memorial service will be held at the ACA memorial at the intersection of Front and Clinton streets on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. It is open to public.

Tyler Brown

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