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August 10th, 2012
04:47 PM ET

Only In America: Crosses to bear

On Thursday, Piers Morgan used his "Only in America" segment to tell that tale of a man who's turning trees into tributes.

Joined by carpenter Greg Zanis, Morgan reviews recent American tragedies, and the signs that have come to mark them:

"The familiar sights of the scenes of mass shootings in America ... wooden crosses for the victims from Columbine," he explains. "This week's tragedy in Wisconsin, one man is building these crosses, thousands of them."

Zanis is the man behind the crosses, and he shares details of his mission, and its origin:

"My father-in-law was murdered in 1996 and I found his body and I rarely relate to people who have had a huge loss like that," he explains.

Inspired by his own personal experience, Zanis is motivated to memorialize the dead, in hopes of providing living family members with a way to grieve, and remember their loved ones:

"When you put up a memorial, whether it's a cross or a wreath or a star or crescent, right away you're giving family members a sense of, 'my son was important.'"

On the heels of recent deadly shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, Zanis emphasizes the importance of providing a safe haven for those impacted by tragedies to express their emotions:

"I put up a lot of very public memorials and a lot of that really - it's for the public to have a place to go to, when a community whether it's in Wisconsin or in Aurora, Colorado, has something this devastating happen to them."

In the aftermath of a mass shooting, often times the attention is placed on those responsible for the killings. Through his work, Zanis hopes to shift the focus:

"We're experiencing this phenomena where immediately, if some guy goes off and takes a gun and kills somebody, everybody knows his name the very next day," he tells the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host. "What I'm trying to do is bring the victims into this and change the stories a little bit. Let's talk about the victims, their lives shattered and then being publicly a victim."

Through his carpentry, and his creations, Zanis feels he's helping to present a bright side for families amidst their darkest hours:

"Placing a memorial in my eyes, this is - this is where the soul leaves to go to heaven. And with that hope in mind, there's not a total loss."

In the words of Morgan, Only in America might one man so selflessly share his soul, and his sweat, to help perfect strangers cope with loss: "It's an extraordinary thing that you do and I want to say on behalf of all of the people who you help and all of the families that you help grieve and commemorate and remember their loved ones, a big thank you."
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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Bart Velk

    It's in point of fact a great and useful piece of info. I'm satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    August 13, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nasrin Barry

    Saying the recovery is slow or worst in decade is fundamentally misleading.
    The recovery of the economy is proportional to the depth of the crises; we cannot expect a cancer patient recovery time to be the same as a flue patient. Obama is doing a good job getting us out of this mess.

    August 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. NOBAMA2012

    A provision of ObamaCare is set to punish roughly two-thirds of U.S. hospitals evaluated by Medicare starting this fall over high readmission rates, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.

    Starting in October, Medicare will reduce reimbursements to hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates – which refers to patients who return within a month – by as much as 1 percent. The maximum penalty increases to 2 percent the following year and 3 percent in 2014.

    Why isn't MSDNC and CNN not reporting this!

    obamacare is throwing the seniors and middle class under the bus!

    obama wants seniors to die!

    August 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    There is no recovery. Dont let the numbers fool you... they have been cooked for a long time now. Obama has wrecked the economy and added over 5 trillion to the deficit with nothing to show for it. In the first two years he could have passed any bill he wanted but didnt even think about jobs. His "laser like" focus was on the golf course and lavish vacations while Americans lost their jobs. He is the biggest clown to ever sit in the Presidency... and he is done come November. I just hope there is something left to recover.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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