Tenth Annual National Day of Remembrance
Friday September 23, 2016 9AM to 11AM
New Beginnings Church 13 Hampton Ave., Orlando, Fl. 32803
Orlando's tenth observance of the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims was celebrated on Friday, September 23, 2016 at the New Beginnings Church. This was our first year at this location as we had outgrown the gazebo at the Mayor Carl T. Langford Park. We would would like to offer a special thank you to Pastor J.R. Gonzalez who graciously opened his church for our ceremony. It was the perfect venue; plenty of comfortable seating, air conditioned and directly across the street from the park for our tree ceremony. There are so many people to thank. Orange Count Sheriff's Office Captain Mary Huggins attended for Sheriff Jerry L. Demings; her personal story as a homicide survivor were most touching. Orlando Police Chief John W. Mina also shared his personal experience with homicide reminding everyone that they are not alone in their grief. Our voice of experience this year was Mandy Vatter, sister of murder victim Benjamin S. Bell Jr Thank you so much Mandy for sharing your personal story. It takes a special type of courage to share so openly and we are truly grateful. Vocals were provided by Alice Flowers, sister of murder victim Rosemary Slaughter-Pate. Your beautiful voice and song selection added so much to our program Alice. The ceremony at the tree would not be complete without the bagpipes and releasing of the doves. Thank you Master Deputy Larry Lockwood for your beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Many thanks to Vera Clarke who provided the flowers and arranged for the the doves, the dedicated BSH Board and everyone who assisted in this special ceremony.
Our tree, a sturdy young live oak tree, was dedicated in 2007 to honor the memories of Central Florida's murder victims and to recognize the impact on the surviving family members. It was rededicated this year with a special message given by Herschel Hughes to whom we are eternally grateful.
We would like to thank everyone that attended last year and look forward to seeing you again next year on Monday September 25, 2017 at the same location. Whether you came because you are a survivor or to offer support for those who are, you are what makes this Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims such a special ceremony.
Sponsored by the Bereaved Survivors of Homicide, Orange County Sheriff's Office, Victim Advocate Squad and A Stable Life Counseling Services, (Supported by the Debbie Fielding Memorial Fund).