Thursday, December 07, 2006



This evening at the state capitol, Governor Bredesen and First Lady Andrea Conte will be hosting the fourth annual statewide "Tennessee Season to Remember" in order to remember and celebrate the lives of those lost to homicide. This special time of remembrance provides a place for family members, whose lives has been deeply affected by homicide, to gather with one another as each victim's name is read aloud and as memorial ornaments are hung. Such events are crucial to the journey of healing which these families travel, particularly during the holiday season--a time of year which can be almost unbearable to those in the midst of grief.

Alex and I will be there this afternoon as well, joining other Tennesseans to remember vicitms of homicide. My heart breaks wide open when I imagine the pain and loss experienced by all those who will gather at the Capitol today. As I stand among those familes, I will imagine the stockings hanging from the mantles which belonged to loved ones who are gone. I will imagine the lighting of menorahs in homes where murdered loved ones' faces no longer glow in the candlelight. I will imagine the jagged holes torn in the hearts of families who suffer because someone chose to take a life which wasn't theirs to take. Such a gathering is a testament to the power of memory, central to the healing journey.

But even as the names are read and the faces glisten with tears, I will wonder about other victims' families. Those victims who may not be gathered tonight at the Capitol, but whose loved ones are just as absent. I will also remember the victims of state murder--family members of those who were executed, who regardless of what heinous act their loved ones committed, still loved them as son, brother, daughter, father, or husband. I will remember their pain too, even though most of us would just as soon forget it.

Tonight, I will remember but also hope that someday in our state, we will choose another way of dealing with our outrage when murders occur rather than the vengeance of the death penalty. I hope that there will come a day in our state when we will choose to stop creating more violence and more victims by executing our own citizens.

No one should ever have to suffer the agonies of experiencing the murder of someone that they love. No one. Tonight we will remember in loving, life affirming acts those who have suffered at the hands of violence. Why do we also insist on "remembering" victims by inflicting more violence on other families through the administration of the death penalty? In the end, the death penalty can never heal us, only God--only love--can do that. I hope as we celebrate the light and hope of this time of year, we will remember, imagine, and choose a better way.
Comments :
You and Alex are in my thoughts and prayers as are all these families affected by violence. In this season of peace my hope is that your work will continue until the death penalty is no longer an option in this state. Peace and love to you both,
Linda C.
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