While the Buckhannon area and West Virginia as a whole enjoy a well-deserved reputation as a safe area, there are many families that have experienced violent crime, specifically the murder of a loved one, something that usually "doesn't happen here."
At 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Upshur County Courthouse in Buckhannon, families and friends of those cut down by the act of another will come together for the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
Local law enforcement officials plan to speak about the impact of violence and homicide on the community, but especially to families and friends left behind. Speakers are scheduled to include Buckhannon Chief of Police Matt Gregory, Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller and Laura Queen, Upshur County victim service coordinator.
The National Day of Remembrance was started by Parents Of Murdered Children, a national support group dedicated to serving all survivors of homicide, with chapters across the country. Sept. 25 marks the anniversary of the murder of the organization's founders' daughter. POMC is described as the "group nobody wants to join, but is grateful to have." The National Day of Remembrance seeks to refocus energy on the victim, in a society and system that too often only thinks about the murderer.
While recent spikes in violence in the area are somber reminders of the effects of crime, this event does not honor specifically anyone harmed in those acts, but it is intended for all families and their supporters to come together to remember those who lost their lives.
Recent events in the community and state remind us that homicide can affect anyone - and it affects real people.
If you go
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 25
Where: Upshur County Courthouse, Buckhannon
All are welcome and encouraged to attend to provide support and lift up love to family members who will truly never be forgotten.
In addition to guest speakers, talented singers will perform National POMC's song "We Are The Survivors," in addition to other memorial songs. Glowsticks will be provided for all attendees, and the vigil will be held rain or shine.
More information about the candlelight vigil or Parents Of Murdered Children, which is open to all survivors of homicide, is available by calling Betty Sargent at 304-924-6791 or Robert Sargent at 856-904-9633.