Matthew Shepard will be interred at Washington National Cathedral 20 years after the openly gay college student was abducted and murdered in Wyoming.
"For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt’s story with the world," his mother Judy Shepard said in a statement, according to NBC News. "It’s reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world."
Shepard was robbed, beaten and left to die tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming, on Oct. 6, 1998, sparking national attention to hate crimes against the LGBTQ community.
His ashes will be laid to rest after a ceremony on Oct. 26 presided over by Episcopal Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, and Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, The Washington Post noted.
Shepard, who has discovered by a bicyclist after being pistol-whipped and died days later, has become a symbol for gay rights and the subject of books, movies and the play "The Laramie Project," The Washington Post noted.
"His death was a wound on our nation," Budde said, according to The New York Times. "We are doing our part to bring light out of that darkness and healing to those who have been so often hurt, and sometimes hurt in the name of the church."
His parents delayed choosing a final resting place for their son, fearing that it would be desecrated and considered spreading his ashes in Wyoming, the Times noted.
The cathedral will offer a place to visit and reflect on the death of Shepard, who was once an alter boy in the Episcopal Church.
"I think it’s the perfect, appropriate place," Shepard's father, Dennis Shepard, told the Times. "We are, as a family, happy and relieved that we now have a final home for Matthew, a place that he himself would love."
Shepard will join prominent figures including President Woodrow Wilson; Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan; and Navy Adm. George Dewey, who are also interred at the cathedral, the Post noted.
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