"Guardians of the First Amendment" pays respect to the lives lost in the 2018 shooting.

The City of Annapolis has unveiled a new memorial dedicated to the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting. Mayor Gavin Buckley revealed the "Guardians of the First Amendment" plaque in a public ceremony on Monday at Newman Park. Located at Compromise and Newman Streets, the memorial features five pillars representing each person killed as well as the image of the newspaper's front page documenting the attack. Behind the pillars lay the words of the First Amendment as printed in the U.S. Constitution.

In a press relief, Buckley expressed gratitude for the organizers who made the memorial possible and praised its ability to bring the public together.

"Our community continues to process their grief from this tragedy. Providing a space for visitors to continue their healing journey, to memorialize Wendi, Rob, Gerald, Rebecca and John, and to have a place to honor their life’s work and the work of journalists around the globe is an appropriate tribute.”

On June 28, 2018, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters were murdered by gunman Jarrod Ramos at the Capital Gazette newsroom. The tragedy that unfolded in Maryland's capital shook the nation and remains the largest mass shooting to occur in a newsroom.

The unveiling was attended by public officials as well as family members of the victims. John McNamara's widow Andrea Chamblee and Rob Hiaasen's partner Maria Hiaasen spoke a few words remembering their loved ones as well as the significance of the First Amendment.

“I’m here to say I won’t be silent. With my voice I will speak for John, I will speak for the families who aren’t here. Their freedom of speech has been taken away from them,” Chamblee said.

Additionally, Governor Larry Hogan launched "Freedom of the Press Day" both as a tribute to the tragedy and a reminder of the free press's role in protecting democracy.

“It has now been three years since five employees of the Capital Gazette lost their lives in a horrific act of violence,” Hogan said in a statement. “Today, as we dedicate a new memorial in their honor, we are reminded that our First Amendment—and our democracy itself—depends on a strong, vibrant, and unfettered free press. We must all continue to work hard to guard and defend that at all costs.”

As of 2019, Ramos has pleaded guilty to the 23 counts brought against him. The trial, which was initially postponed due to the pandemic, began on June 29, a day following the anniversary.

Please share your thoughts on the memorial in the comments.