COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One by one, families place notes of remembrance to their loved ones on a tree. Each of the seventy-two loved ones were victims of crimes in the Muscogee, Harris, Marion, Talbot and Taylor Counties.
"I've never been in the presence of so much pain and yet so much love. And there's a reason for them to come together. As much as it's difficult, they walk away saying I'm so glad that I did this for my loved one," says Shelley Hall, the Director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program.
Families of the all the victims wore their loved ones on their shirts and their memories in their hearts.
"What if you wake up and open your eyes and realize that your life will never be the same again?" said Nedra King.
She says that events like this one help heal her soul.
"It means a lot of support and learning to grow toward closure. I haven't been able to get complete closure. My son was killed in a tragic car accident. He was decapitated, and his remains disappeared in the cemetery," said King.
She says this memorial service helped her to find comfort with many who shares her experience. The speaker for the event, Sheila Foye lost her son in a 2016 murder and says that it is all about making a difference because it helps reflect on their loved one's life.
"This event is everything to a person who has lost a loved one due to violence because it's so hard to keep a memory alive," explained Foye.
"It's just a remembrance of our children that life goes on and we have to support one another. If you get a picture of everyone here, we're all victim in some kind of way. We've all lost a loved one in some kind of way," says King.
Of the 72 names that were called, 50 of them were represented by family members, and the other 22 were law officers represented by their co-workers.