Sunday, October 02, 2005

Natalee Holloway; “Wall of Hope” Comes Down

It was a sad day Friday in Mountain Brook, AL as the “Wall of Hope” dedicated to missing teen Natalee Holloway was taken down. Friends and family did stress this is not the end and the searches are far from complete.

“Watching it come down does not mean this is over,” said Marcia Twitty, Holloway’s aunt. “It just means we’re in a new phase. We’re just working on what the next steps are.”

Marcia Twitty stated that the wall needed to be taken out of the weather as parts of it had begun to fade. Tom had noticed this as well when he made his trip to Birmingham, AL earlier this summer attending the Natalee Holloway fundraiser. The wall will be put in storage until it can be preserved. Still in a way it had to be an emotional moment to take a part the wall, the symbol of keeping hope alive for Natalee Holloway.

She said the wall was taken down to protect it from the weather, which was starting to fade and wash off some of the hundreds of notes and signatures. It will be stored in a downtown warehouse owned by Holloway’s parents and friends until it can be restored and preserved. Her family said it could go on exhibit sometime in the future, but no arrangements have been made.

A note and yellow ribbon were left in its place at the entrance to the youth center at Mountain Brook Community Church. The wall went up June 8, just over a week after Holloway, 18, disappeared on a trip to Aruba with other recent graduates from Mountain Brook High School.

It was the brainstorm of Eddie Culpeper, who said he got involved because his daughter was on a trip to Mexico with students from Gardendale High at the time Holloway disappeared. Modeled after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it began as two painted plywood sheets topped with a photo of Holloway carved into black granite. Over the summer, it expanded five times. “It’s kind of sad,” Culpeper said as he helped dismantle his creation. “I wish there was some closure to this.”

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