Remembering…Healing … HOPE

This Sunday, April 21st I will once again be attending the annual Crime Victims’ Vigil. It’s certainly not an event I look forward to … but I’m there every year. Why? Because it’s important.

At 4 p.m. the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church will be full of people remembering…grieving…honoring… and healing. There will be many familiar faces from past vigils. Their grief may be less raw…time moves forward; but their losses no less devastating. Other faces are new; this is their first vigil.
Each year District Attorney Jim Murphy honors individuals who have committed their lives to supporting crime victims and protecting their right. These folks always seem humbled by the recognition; they  do this difficult work not for glory, but for justice.
The heart wrenching stories of how crime has taken a son or daughter, has  shattered dreams, or has left a survivor forever scarred, remind me that newspaper accounts about crime can’t possibly convey it’s impact. I think we become desensitized as we read the paper or watch the evening news; the vigil has the opposite effect.
Each year I’m left with one haunting image. There is a scroll with the names of victims written on it. Each year more names are added to the scroll. I recall a decade ago when I first attended the vigil that the unrolled scroll reached to the first few pews of the church. At my first vigil looking at all the names on the scroll I was overcome with sadness. Each year as the scroll unrolls farther down the aisle, almost past the confines of the room, I think, “Is there no end?”
Such sadness–you may question why I go year after year. Because, like Pandora’s box, just when all seems lost the vigil evokes a beaming light radiating throughout the room- Hope. In a room filled with people whose lives have been shattered by crime and whose loved ones have been taken from them, there is support, healing and hope. May we soon see the day when that scroll stops with not one more name added.
Crime Victims’ Vigil
4 p.m. Sunday April 21, 2013
New England Congregational Church
24 Circular Street, Saratoga Springs