The Steven Sotloff Memorial Garden was commemorated Saturday in memory of the Pinecrest journalist who was slain by ISIS last year.
Steven’s parents, Shirley and Arthur Sotloff, have described the memorial at Pinecrest Gardens as a public place of reflection where they can go with their daughter, Lauren, and pay their respects to their son. They chose the site in the village of Pinecrest because they had taken Steven to the site as a child when it was Parrot Jungle.
“Shirley, Lauren and myself see ourselves coming to this place often to watch the beautiful flowers grow and to feel close to Steven,” Arthur said during the ceremony attended by family and friends.
Sotloff, 31, was beheaded in a video broadcast to the world on Sept. 2, 2014. Sotloff, who was Jewish and spoke fluent Arabic, worked as a freelance writer for various publications, including Time and The Christian Science Monitor.
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The garden is located under the great Banyan tree in a shaded area that will have seating in the future. The garden is centered on three water features, a long-time tenet of garden design, often referring to heaven, earth and man. The garden plantings include peace lilies, soft ferns, begonias, gingers and palms.
The garden features a stone with a quote by Steven Sotloff, which he wrote while in captivity: “Everyone has two lives. The 2nd one begins when you realize you only have one.”
The Sotloff family, along with family friends, created the 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation to endow scholarships to students seeking careers in journalism.
Steven Sotloff, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, often had to hide his Jewish identity as he traveled.
“Whenever he went into a place … he was looking for the story of the people who were suffering there. He wasn’t reporting about anything else; he was reporting about the bread lines,” Arthur told the Miami Herald in an article published last month.
Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, a family friend, spoke at the ceremony. (Shirley grew up with Lerner’s husband, and both were children of Holocaust survivors.)
“I want to invite the community at large to take advantage of this space to reflect, to recognize and respect the life that Steven led, and the work that Steven did,” she said.
Home Depot was a principal partner, with their vendors contributing plants and supplies. Private donors also contributed to the memorial via The Miami Foundation.
Miami Herald reporter Howard Cohen contributed to this article.