Washington, DC Twenty journalists who lost their lives while on the job were honored in a permanent memorial in Washington, DC. The Newseum is a museum dedicated to the news industry. Journalists who died worldwide in 2015 while covering news stories were recognized including two WDBJ7 journalists.
"We are honored to be here today. I know Alison would be honored to be here today," said Alison Parker's father Andy Parker at Monday's ceremony. "We wish we didn't have a reason to be here today."
The faces of journalists fill a wall at the Newseum and on Monday 20 new faces from all over the world were added to the wall. They are the faces of people who died just doing their job. Eight of the journalists were working at the French satirical newspaper "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris when they were murdered in January, 2015. The French Ambassador to the United States was the keynote speaker at the re-dedication event. He said the attacks only strengthened France's resolve to protect the Freedom of Speech. "France doesn't just pay lip service to the Freedom of the Press. It works to make it a reality," said Gene Araud, French Ambassador to the U.S.
The Newseum CEO and President said the loss of journalists is a tragedy for their families and loved ones. "And there's also a tremendous sadness for all of us who celebrate freedom of the press and freedom of societies," said Jeffrey Herbst, Newseum CEO and President.
The names of WDBJ7 photo journalist Adam Ward and WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker were read during the ceremony and their story was told. The two were gunned down on live television early in the morning on August, 2015 while doing a live report from Smith Mountain Lake about an upcoming 50th anniversary celebration.
Parker's father said the two were victims of domestic terrorism. "It's the domestic terrorism that senseless gun violence brings to this country that claims 90 people every single day, Andy Parker said.
Adam Ward's brother Jay Ward told a touching personal story about his brother's connection to the Newseum. It was December of 2014 when Adam Ward and his then girlfriend and WDBJ7 "Mornin'" producer Melissa Ott visited the Newseum. "Just two years ago on the sixth floor balcony Adam proposed to Melissa overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol building," Jay Ward said. "And we're really grateful for the museum for sharing Adam's story and honoring his memory."
Ward said the family has been humbled by the dedication. "We have been incredibly humbled by the support and love," said Jay Ward. "And we take comfort in the fact that Adam's story will live on through memorials such as this."