By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Close to 100 family and friends of victims of violent crime gathered at Fairpark in Tupelo on Saturday night to remember those taken from them.
Family members of violent crime victims read poems about their lost loved ones, remembering them as they were before the violent crimes.
Tammy Jenkins read a poem in honor of her brother who was taken 22 years ago. The poem said her brother’s his son looks like him, is doing fine and is very much loved.
Susan Scott read a poem about her adopted son, Cornelius Harris, who was taken Sept. 29, 2011.
“It is so comforting to be able to be with a group of people that are still reeling from the tragic loss of somebody that they love so much,” Scott said as she wiped some running mascara from under her eyes. “In a group like this, you can be yourself. They know how you feel. I’ve always found that empathy is so much better than sympathy. There are a lot of people that can feel bad for you but a group like this can feel with you and that makes the difference.”
Luminaries were lit along the sidewalk downtown, sharing their light as the sun set.
After the poems, each person took a candle and passed a flame, from candle to candle, throughout the crowd.
“We have memorial services each year to honor victims’ families, the survivors of homicide victims in the area,” said Survival Inc. Victims Advocate Mary Katherine Spencer. “This is a time for people to get together with their loved ones. Today we did a poetry reading to be able to say some words for those we’ve lost and share with others.
“It’s also to let people know that we are here, and that survivors matter and the people we’ve lost matter. This is one way we do victims advocacy, so they don’t feel weird and know anyone can see that they can be a victim.”
Saturday’s event was a part of a larger National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims sponsored by chapters of Parents of Murdered Children.