TERRE HAUTE —
Memories of those gone missing were shared amid the light of Christmas trees Saturday evening.
The ninth Annual Candlelight Vigil and Christmas Tree Lighting to honor victims of crime, missing persons and members of the military was hosted outside the Terre Haute City Hall, with dozens in attendance.
Organizer Merv Javins said the holiday season is particularly tough for those families missing members, whether the absence is due to crime or military service. Javins’ 20-year-old son Scott went missing May 24, 2002, initiating a five-year search which ultimately found his remains inside his car in the Wabash River on Oct. 12, 2007.
And families of service members serving on deployment share comparable feelings, he said.
“To those men and women, we owe a big thank you. Without them we would not be here,” he said.
Mayor Duke Bennett was among more than a dozen speakers and readers participating in the annual event. The community should remain prayerful for those experiencing loss, he said.
“What we need to do is come together and be there for you as a community,” he said, encouraging people to rally alongside their neighbors.
Matt Krupa, a former tank operator in the U.S. Army, recounted his experiences as a veteran with service in Iraq. Krupa served multiple stations overseas, both in Europe and the Middle East, before cancer forced him to retire early. But the memory of lonely holidays remains in his mind, he said, adding soldiers don’t go overseas because they enjoy fighting.
“Like me, they wanted to protect our nation and their families and friends from danger,” he said.
Javins encouraged the community to begin a tradition of leaving porch lights on through the holidays as a tribute to those not present.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.