A mother whose son was murdered two days before Christmas told FOX13 the holidays are especially difficult as families gather with loved ones. However, she said an annual event at City Hall helps keep her son from being forgotten.
“It hurts when you're going to a get together, and everybody else has their kids, and you're hearing ‘mom,’ but yours aren't there,” Diane Welch said. “It hurts to see so many sad people, and so many people crying when they call their name out, but it helps to know that someone is remembering that I have a son.”
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich invited family members to remember victims of violent crimes at a holiday ceremony Monday evening. Welch told FOX13 she tries to attend every year.
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Welch’s son, Michael Taylor, was murdered by his wife in 2009. Pamela Taylor is serving a 21-year sentence after a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder, according to court records.
“I can't sit here and tell you that there hasn't been lots of times when I haven't wondered why I’m still here. My kids aren't here,” Welch said.
The fourth annual ceremony was held at Memphis City Hall. Family members brought ornaments to hang on wreaths in honor of their loved ones. The wreaths and ornaments will be on display to the public at the Hall of Mayors throughout the holiday season.
Stevie Moore, another grieving parent, said he also attends the event every year.
“Seeing him laying on that ground is something I never will forget,” Moore said. “I show his picture everywhere I go. I put his name out there. That's my son. I loved him.”
Moore’s son, Prentice Moore, was shot and killed in 2003 after an early morning fight at a night club got out of hand.
“We got to keep the memory alive,” Moore said. “You saw the flashing lights, and the yellow tape around there. The only thing I remember is the police officer grabbed me and said, ‘sir, you don't need to see no more.’”
Moore is the founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (F.F.U.N.), an organization that seeks to improve the lives of troubled young people in Memphis. His sons picture is displayed on the organizations website and on the walls of Moore’s office, as a reminder to impact children’s lives.
“When people try to tell me, ‘I hate to bring this up,’ I say No. I don't hate it, because I bring my son up every day,” Moore said.
During the last year, 143 people have died as a result of violence in Memphis. That number is 12 fewer than last year's mark at this time, when 155 people were killed as a result of violence.
While that may be a sign that violent crime has decreased in Shelby County, it also means that 143 new families have a reason to attend the event this year.
"This is our way to publicly acknowledge the importance of each life lost to violence here in Shelby County," said District Attorney Gen. Amy Weirich. "Not one of these victims should ever be forgotten."
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