"Last year during Victim Rights Week, a young lady called and said she had an idea for us for the next time we do a ceremony," Julia Richards, director of Victim Assistance said. "She told us that her sister, nephew and unborn nephew had been murdered in Missouri and in Missouri during Victim Rights Week they have a flower ceremony.
"So we got to talking to Commissioner Clarence Brown and asked if the county would do a victim's memorial for us. So now, every year, we will have a ceremony to remember those who lost their lives to violent crime."
The ceremony, beginning at 3 p.m. rain or shine, will include a keynote speaker whose sister was a murder victim. Special music, refreshments and a dedication of the memorial located at the court house also are elements of the event.
As names of murder victims are read, families present to represent their loved one will receive an artificial rose. A rose will be placed in a vase for those whose families are unable to attend. As of Friday, Richards said 135 people had sent an RSVP to attend the event, indicating that the 130 chairs available will be filled and the expected crowd continues to grow each day. An RSVP is not required to attend.
Of the 66 names to be read, 13 are from Gordon County.
"Gordon is incorporated into the event because the court serves the Gordon circuit as well as Bartow," Richards said.
"We have dates [for victims], I believe the oldest was in 1978, and those were pre-computer [database] so we went around to different people in the court house who would remember. So a lot of hands went into this event," Richards said.
Bartow's event is designed to coincide with the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, held annually on Sept. 25. Anyone interested in attending, or for more information, RSVP by calling 770-387-5106. Information also is available at www.bartowga.org/vwap.