Crosses, lined up in rows, stretching from El Paso, Texas to Dayton, Ohio. These crosses are dedicated to the 31 souls of the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio. They are handmade and painted white. Families, friends and loved ones of the deceased will add final touches to personalize these crosses. Each of these crosses will be unique and tell the story of the individual that passed away. As they shed many tears, family members will be comforted by these crosses.
Greg Zanis, who is the founder of Crosses for Losses, created hand-crafted crosses for the 31 civilians that were killed in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio. Throughout the years, he has traveled countless miles to deliver memorials to those who really need them. He has created a total of 680 wooden masterpieces. Not only has he made religious symbols for victims of mass shootings, he also makes them for those who die in natural disasters. What motivated him to produce crosses was the murder of his father in law in 1996. He decided to turn his grief into a quest to help others heal after tragedy.
On his wooden memorials, Zanis puts the name of each victim killed, their city and a bible verse. Loved ones add the rest of the details to immortalize the memory of their deceased family member. Zanis’ crosses are a gift to the community that is free of charge to the recipients.
After the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, Zanis made 58 crosses for the deceased. He was honored by Clark County, Nevada, and they declared November 12 as “Greg Zanis Day.” As a distinguished citizen, he was also given the key to the Las Vegas Strip.
When the nation mourned the death of John F. Kennedy Jr, after his plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Zanis was there to make a cross for America’s favorite son, John F. Kennedy Jr. He also made a cross for Carolyn Bessette, John F. Kennedy’s wife. He also produced a cross for Lauren Bessette, John F. Kennedy’s sister in law. As he paid his final respects to an American icon, he showed his patriotism.
Born into the Greek Orthodox faith, Zanis’ mission is not to turn people into Christians by making crosses. Instead, his goal is to honor the beliefs of each deceased individual. Not only has he created crosses, Zanis has also produced Stars of David or crescent moons – – just to name a few examples. As he makes wooden memorials, whether they are crosses or other religious symbols, he is respecting the religious beliefs of others and helping them heal through their own faith.