After a hard-fought battle, the Abdallah and Sakr families finally have a permanent monument dedicated to the lives of the “four angels”.
The Abdallah family lost three children: Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13, while Veronique Sakr, 11, was also killed in February 2020.
The children died after they were hit by a vehicle while walking on a footpath in the Sydney suburb of Oatlands on their way to get ice cream.
The driver, Samuel William Davidson, was drunk and high on drugs when he lost control of his ute.
On Saturday evening a public unveiling of the sandstone plinths dedicated to the young lives lost and those affected by the Oatlands tragedy four years ago was attended by over 200 people including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Premier Chris Minns and former Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Oatlands Golf Club.
Veronique’s mother Bridget Sakr told 2GB’s Ben Fordham the memorial would transform the area into a “place of hope”.
“It’s now a place where people can come and honour the children.
“People who have gone through pain themselves can come there and be reminded there is hope after a tragedy like this,” Ms Sakr said.
Father Danny Abdallah thanked his wife — pregnant for the second time since her older children were killed — for being “a pillar of strength” at the emotional ceremony, The Daily Telegraph reported.
“I remember coming here the day after the tragedy and the days ahead every morning at sunrise, I was a broken man in tears asking God ‘why’,” Mr Abdallah said.
“And then a family member came to me and said ‘Danny stop asking why and start asking how’.”
Mr Morrison, who had become a close friend of the families following the accident, talked about their shared faith and the families’ forgiveness and said the new memorial had made the place more than “just a place of grief”.
“The mountain of grief, the mountain of tragedy, the mountain of tears, the mountain of questions and anxiety and the mountain of fear,” Mr Morrison said.
“Through their faith they found a way to find forgiveness and cast that mountain into the sea.”
The Abdallahs have publicly forgiven the driver of the ute, with Mr Abdallah telling The Daily Telegraph he regularly speaks to Samuel William Davidson over the phone.
Davidson always asked how Mr Abdallah and his children are faring.
“I know we can’t change the past but I needed him to know who I was and tell him the hurt that he had caused and why I forgave him,” Mr Abdallah said.
Davidson revealed he had converted to Maronite Catholic, the same religion the Abdallah and Sakr families follow.
After years of struggling to get approval for the memorial, 80 per cent of the Oatlands Golf Club board approved the monument last year.
Since their children’s death both families have championed causes related to the incident.
The Abdallahs began the annual i4give Day, while Ms Sakr formed Heartfelt Charity, opened a cafe in honour of the children and her husband lobbies for road safety legislation through the Road Trauma Support Group.
“We’ve all taken something and tried to get a greater good for this,’’ Ms Sakr told The Daily Telegraph.
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