WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Victims of violent crime were honored Friday night during the 20th Annual Candlelight Memorial Service. Families and friends sang songs, prayed and gathered together in honor of the lives lost to murder, domestic violence and drunk driving.
These families wanted to remind each other that they are there for each other and that no one is alone.
"It brings victims together and if you are not a victim, you really do not understand. It is a healing process for us, there is no closure, I do not like the word closure, but it is a healing process for us," said Birdie Frink, whose daughter Amy was murdered more than 20 years ago.
She started this candlelight service 20 years ago, both to honor her daughter, and to be a support system for other families feeling the same pain.
Teresa Leggett's mother was killed by a drunk driver in Columbus County two years ago. She spoke tonight as the voice of a victim.
"My mission tonight, is just convey to the crowd what a wonderful person she was and how unjustly and so untimely taken from us," said Leggett. "It is imperative for us as a community to come together and bond and reach out and let each other know that we are not alone in this fight."
"The list of 184 victims read Friday night included some who died this year and others like Amy Frink who died decades ago.
For the families attending for the first time the message is that there are others who have suffered the same loss who can help get them through the darkest times.