ODESSA, Texas — Memorial Gardens Park along 42nd Street is the place where people have come to pay their respect to victims of the mobile mass shooting. People, some from as far away as El Paso, have come here for a moment of solace, to lay flowers and reflect on the past year.
Aug. 31, 2019 is a day forever etched onto the hearts and memories of West Texans.
“You didn’t know what was happening, nobody did," Andrea Bustillos, an Odessa resident and mom, said. "It was just like your heart fell out of your body and you just couldn’t do anything.”
Andrea and her three daughters are using the Monday to reflect, and honor the seven lives stolen one year ago.
Seven bouquets of yellow flowers, one for each of the victims.
“Maybe those people’s families aren’t strong enough to come do it themselves," Isabella Contreras, Leilah Hernandez's friend, said. "So if someone else can come and do it that means a lot.”
Isabella took special care at one of the victim's flags--the one in place for Leilah Hernandez.
She was one of Isabella's best friends, the two met in middle school.
“It’s hard because its one more good person we don’t have in the world...I mean it’s hard to understand," Contreras said. "But sometimes God needs good people up there and so we just have to forgive.”
We may never understand the 'why.'
Isabella says the one thing she has taken from the last year is this: we are stronger together.
“Despite all of our differences with each other, no matter who you like and dislike at the end of the day we all came together and we still managed to get through it as a community" Contreras said. "This is something that put all our differences aside and we came together to help one another.”
And that right there, is what makes us Permian Basin Strong.