Gainesville attorney creates downtown memorial to Israeli hostages

By Caleb Hutchins Assistant News Director
Posted 2:00PM on Tuesday 30th January 2024 ( 4 months ago )

A local attorney has created a memorial on his firm's property in downtown Gainesville to the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas militants on October 7, 2023.

The memorial, created by Joseph Summer, is located on Bradford Street just north of the downtown Gainesville square. It consists of several traffic cones covered with posters of the hostages taken during the October attacks.

Summer said he put the memorial up on Sunday after months of planning.

"I've been following this story since it happened on October 7, and more and more every day I've been involving myself in understanding the issues and following the atrocities," Summer said. "I felt somewhat compelled to print out these pictures of these hostages and put them out in the parking lot, right downtown for everybody to see."

Summer, who is Jewish, is an attorney with the Summer Law Firm, which operates on the downtown square and owns the parking lot in question on Bradford Street. According to the firm's website, Summer is a Gainesville native and a 2009 graduate of Gainesville High School.

He said while he has taken steps to prevent the memorial from being vandalized, he hopes that won't be an issue in his hometown.

"I have seen in the media all these crazy folks who have seen these posters and torn them off walls, so it took me a minute to think about how I can prevent that from happening," Summer said. "I went and got the pictures laminated on kind of a turgid cardstock to keep it weather-proof and try to prevent people from ripping them up and tearing them down. I'm hoping that doesn't happen in our community."

So far, Summer said he's put up 36 posters, but that's only roughly a third of the ones he has printed. He said he's preparing to put up the rest of them over the course of this week.

Summer said he believes the Israel-Hamas conflict should be taken seriously by everyone around the globe.

"I think what happened on October 7 is not just Israel's problem, it's everybody's problem, because what we're talking about is the problem of terrorism," Summer said. "The initial reactions I've gotten from people have actually been somewhat surprising. A lot of people don't know what the posters reference, and so I've had to talk to people and kind of jog their memories...I think it's been a positive thing so far, just bringing awareness to this ongoing emergency that's happening right now in Israel."

A memorial in downtown Gainesville to the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas on October 7, 2023

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