Two thousand and twenty-five people gathered in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Oct. 26 for the interment of Matthew Shepard’s remains.
Murdered in Laramie in October 1998, Shepard has become an enduring symbol of the movement to rid America of hate crimes and a rallying figure for gay-rights activists. The ceremony received international attention.
A smaller, more intimate commemoration took place the day before when Shepard’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, donated a collection of their son’s belongings to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History, some of which are pictured here.
The artifacts from Shepard’s life — a Superman cape, his preschool diploma, report cards — will be preserved for the record and the enlightenment of academics, advocates and all Americans. They will stand as evidence that he was more than the traits and the tragic history that have come to define his legacy — that he was first and foremost an American boy.