CaribWorldNews, LOS ANGELES, CA, Fri. Nov. 19, 2010: A memorial to the 900 people slain in the Jonestown, Guyana tragedy 32 years ago may soon be erected in California.
The Associated Press Thursday quoted Jim Jones Jr., an adopted son of former temple leader Jim Jones, as saying four large stone slabs with the names of the 900 would be sunk flat on the grassy mass grave site overlooking San Francisco Bay.
However, details for construction of the newly proposed monument -four gray granite panels measuring 40 inches by 64 inches and about 3 inches thick – are being finalized and it should be installed by the 33rd anniversary next year, the AP said. The cost is being put at between $15,000 to $20,000.
Thursday, Nov. 16th marked the 32nd anniversary of the tragedy. The new memorial plans came as about 40 people attended services to mark the day that featured civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory.
Jonestown was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, a community in northwestern Guyana formed by the Peoples Temple, an American cult led by Jim Jones. It became internationally notorious when, on November 18, 1978, 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby airstrip and in Georgetown, Guyana`s capital. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations.
A total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed `revolutionary suicide` by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first and only Congressman assassinated in the line of duty in the history of the United States. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones` command.
To the extent the actions in Jonestown were viewed as a mass suicide, it is the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001.