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Scenes from the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park

In honor of World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day Commemorated In San Francisco Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated with the most recent information and new spaces.

In eastern Golden Gate Park, the National AIDS Memorial Grove was created 25 years ago to honor the lives touched by the disease. And on the eve of World AIDS Day last night, hundreds of people flocked to the site to pay their respects.

Per San Francisco Parks and Recreation, here’s a bit of history about the grove:

During the late 1980s, reeling from the grief that came as a result from dealing with the effects of AIDS, a small collection of San Francisco residents decided to act upon their loss. They imagined a calming natural scene where memorial services and private refection could take place. Drawing from a blueprint of heartache, a host of landscapers, architects, designers, and volunteers pooled their energy together to produce a tribute filled with life that would pay homage to love, friendship, healing, and existence.

In 1996, Congress and the President of the United States approved the “National AIDS Memorial Grove Act,” which officially set aside the notable deLaveaga Dell in Golden Gate Park as the home for the first AIDS memorial to grace the nation. [...]

In 1996, the memorial unveiled the '“Circle of Friends“ element, a circular space featuring engraved name of those who lost their lives to the disease. Each year, new names are added to the space, providing a sobering reminder that AIDS is not over, that there still is no cure. The grove has ran out of room for names, so a sidewalk will be used as an alternative space for future engravings.

The National AIDS Memorial Grove can be found at the DeLaveaga Dell section of the park, near the entrance at Stanyan Street. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will speak tonight at the grove during the annual memorial.

Here are some scenes from last night’s gathering at the grove.

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Light in the Grove 2017 ❤️ @james_graham_dance_theatre

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#worldaidsday #120116 #sanfrancisco #nationalaidsmemorialgrove

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Light The Grove 2016 #sanfrancisco #goldengatepark #thegrove #worldaidsday2016 #remember #ubuntu

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The induction of the names at the #aidsmemorialgrove on #worldaidsday. Let there be healing. ️‍

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An emotional night of remembrance yesterday at the #NationalAIDSMemorialGrove before #WorldAIDSDay.

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