NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Families, along with members of law enforcement, Tennessee First Lady Andrea Conte and U.S. Attorney for Middle Tennessee Jerry Martin gathered in Centennial Park on Thursday evening to remember victims of homicide.
The 16th annual Season to Remember ceremony brought together the surviving loved ones of murder victims.
Connie Williams' brother, Carl Williams, was murdered in April 1994. The murder is still unsolved.
"These ornaments represent loved once who are missed not just during the holidays but at all times during the year," Williams said.
During the service, family members read the names of their loved ones and hung ornaments made by the family.
The event started when Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen was mayor of Nashville. The tradition continued to grow through the years.
Now an evergreen tree is planted in Centennial Park where the yearly service is held and the ornaments will hang until January 3, 2011.
Bo Tuders family hung an ornament for his daughter Tabitha Tuders who disappeared more than seven years ago from east Nashville. Another ornament hangs for his nephew Billy Jack Shane Tuders, who was murdered in 2008. Five people were convicted in connection with murder.
"It lets you know when you come out to talk to other people who have had this done to them it gives you a little relief but there is no healing process," Tuders said.
Along with the ornament event, there was a lighting of the Menorah in honor of Hanukkah and of the Kinara for Kwanza.
Families said the tree reminds everyone who sees their ornaments that the people the ornaments represent have families.
"She is still out there somewhere and she needs to be home where she belongs," Tuders said of his missing daughter.
For the Williams family each year passes as they hope Carl's killer will be brought to justice.
"I think its something you really can't put into words," Williams said, adding, "I think there is something there where you always maintain some degree of hope."