32 years ago, 918 followers of Jim Jones died at Jonestown, the spiritual encampment established in the jungles of Guyana intended to be utopia.
The victims were coerced by Jim Jones in the Peoples Temple to drink cyanide-laced koolaid as authorities closed in on his camp, resulting in one of the largest mass suicides in history.
Red tape and conflicts among families over whether to include Jones' name on the memorial spanned 32 years until a resolution was made Thursday when an Alameda County Superior Court judge gave permission to proceed with the memorial, which includes Jones' name among the victims.
Family members were finally able to say goodbye to loved ones, having gone unidentified and unclaimed for so long, during a service on Sunday at the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.
Jonestown was much more than a place where almost 1,000 people died, said James Cobb who lost 10 family members. In the end, it was also about losing a dream.
All 918 names are memorialized in four granite panels, and over 400 victims remain buried in Evergreen. This is the first significant memorial to the victims of the Jonestown tragedy.