Families observe Children's Memorial Day - NBC40.net

Families observe Children's Memorial Day

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It was a solemn evening at Heritage Park in Absecon as 50 families gathered to take part in a candle lighting ceremony for Children's Memorial Day.

The day is observed worldwide with every time zone lighting a candle at 7pm to remember a lost child.

Rodney Ruark and his wife were inspired to bring the ceremony to Absecon after the passing of their daughter.

"My wife's daughter Shelby passed away of cancer seven years ago and that particular year we went to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia for their annual children's candle lighting service and we decided we'd start one locally for Shelby and for other families," said Ruark.

This was the sixth year the ceremony was held in Absecon and 16th year the day was observed worldwide.

Families and loved ones gathered as songs and poetry accompanied the names of 56 sons and daughters gone too soon.

Ceremony organizers see the event as part of the healing process for parents still recovering from their loss.

"So I know it's a good thing, I know it helps them, it makes me feel good that we can still do something in Shelby's honor and that we take something that's bad and tragic in our life and turn it into something good," said Ruark.

Michelle Dawn Mooney read the names of the children as pictures were displayed.

For Rodney Ruark and his wife, Shelby may be gone but her memory lives on with the families this event has helped to console.

"It's been seven years for us," said Ruark.

"We still feel the loss everyday and I like to think not a day has gone by that she's passed that I haven't mentioned her name, which makes me feel good and I know she's looking down and appreciates we are doing this for other families."

Children's Memorial Day is held the second Sunday of every December.

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