The Time of Remembrance was not only the highlight of the 7th Annual Family FunFair on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at the Nolan County Coliseum in Sweetwater, but capped off two days of events bringing awareness of child abuse in and around the area.
The family event was sponsored by the High Sky Children's Ranch and West Texas Children's Advocacy Center (WTCAC), with the ceremony honoring children who have been victims of child abuse.
District Attorney Ann Reed welcomed the crowd and reiterated the focus of the service, noting that outlets like High Sky and the WTCAC are among several in the area that provide comfort and strength to families who endure this particular hardship.
She then introduced the leaders of the city and county, respectively, to declare April as Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham noted that he, along with the city commission, made the declaration not only for the month but in an effort to bring year-long awareness to the problem. People in the community are available to assist citizens in being able to recognize or do their part to help combat child abuse.
Nolan County Judge Tim Fambrough then read the proclamation passed by the county commission in early March, noting that in 2011, around 39,000 cases of child abuse or neglect were confirmed in Texas alone. Thus, the county should help in finding solutions by promoting and supporting programs that deal with child abuse.
Efforts can be made through partnership with local entities like schools, churches, and law enforcement--among others, with the goal to make everyone aware of the situation and help as possible.
Following the reading of the proclamation, eight candles were lit in the Coliseum in remembrance of eight children who died from child abuse by civic leaders from the Sweetwater Police Department, Nolan County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's office, the City of Sweetwater, Nolan County and BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse).
A moment of silence was observed, which transitioned into a performance of "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride, sung by Kyrsten Smith.
Concluding the Time of Remembrance was County Commissioner Tony Lara, who promoted the idea of building up one another through a Scripture reading of Matthew 11:28-30, followed by a prayer.