Chastain was the motivation behind the local ceremony in 2011.
“Back in April 2011, I had received a call from [Chastain]. She had read an article in the Tribune about recent community events we sponsored for National Victims’ Rights week in April of 2011 and she called to share an idea with us,” said Julia Richards, Victim-Witness Assistance Director Cherokee Judicial Circuit Office of the District Attorney. “Stephanie shared that her sister, her nephew and her sisters unborn baby were murdered in Missouri that past year and she had recently attended a very touching flower ceremony in Missouri. We agreed that would be a wonderful idea for our community to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, which is observed every year in September. We were so overwhelmed at the response from the community last year we decided to make this an annual event.”
Recognized for the first time in 2007, the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims is marked across the country with various ceremonies from flowers to balloons and candles.
“Here in the Cherokee Judicial Circuit, this will be the second annual flower ceremony commemorating the National Day of Remembrance for Murder victims,” Richards said.
Scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m., the event will be held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center and will feature a flower ceremony and photo presentation.
“During the flower ceremony, names of 62 Bartow victims, 14 Gordon victims and three victims from Missouri will be read. Any family members or friends in attendance are invited to come up and receive a flower in memory of their loved one.
“We will also be showing a PowerPoint presentation displaying photos of many of the victims. Ashlie Rae Cupp, a local talent from Cartersville will be singing again this year. We will hear from Rosemary Greene, our newly elected district attorney who takes office in January, as well as Sandy Templeton, our former Victim Assistance director.”
Richards said this event is about supporting those affected by violence and remembering those who have lost their lives.
“Each year during this event, we are reminded that murder and violence not only impacts our nation and our community but, more importantly, it devastates those who have personally felt the pain of losing a loved one,” she said. “We in the Victim Assistance Office along with our district attorney want these families to know that we will continue working diligently to prevent and fight against the violence that destroys lives and devastates families in our community. Those whose lives have been taken as a result of violence will not be forgotten and will always be in our hearts.”
The event is open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, call the Victim Assistance office 770-387-5106.