Shepard was robbed, pistol-whipped and tied to a fence, left in freezing cold in Laramie, Wyoming. He was found by a cyclist who originally thought Shepard was a scarecrow. Shepard died at a hospital, CNN reported.
His murder became a symbol of LGBTQ movements, highlighting deadly violence against them, the New York Times reported.
At the time of his funeral, protesters spoke out, some carrying derogatory signs during the service, so Shepard's parents waited to find a final resting place for his remains that would not be desecrated, the Times reported.
They settled on Washington National Cathedral which is also the final resting place of Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller and Admiral George Dewey.
The family also donated some of Shepard's personal items to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The items included a childhood Superman cape and a ring that Shepard wanted to give his future husband.
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A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night where speakers reminded those who attended that the fight for equal rights and treatment of LGBTQ members continues, two decades after Shepard’s murder.
Organizers also read the names of 28 transgender people who have been killed in 2018, CNN reported.