After the murders of five people in Pitt County recently, Thursday night's monthly celebration of life ceremony for victims of violence held an even more powerful meaning.
The vigil marked the 32nd month for 'Citizens United Against Violence' to meet at the Pitt County Courthouse to remember those who lost their lives to violence in Pitt County. With the recent triple murder in Farmville and double murder in Greenville, organizers say they hope the community and victims' families will receive some closure from the group's monthly events.
Strangers prayed for the recent murder victims and they lit candles for those families to light a way for hope- that their questions can be answered and their hearts won't be hardened by these murders.
Retired Greenville Police Captain C.J. Hardy is president of Citizens United Against Violence and says it's in devastating times that the victims' families need to know the community is on their side. Hardy says, "It unites us with that family, and the family feels that they are not grieving alone. Anytime there is a loss of life involving a crime it affects the whole community, and we try to reflect that to the family by putting this event on for them."
Board member Johann Bleicher says he knows that the ceremonies won't stop the family's pain, but he hopes it will offer them the support they need to try to move forward.
Families from the triple murder in Farmville and the double murder in Greenville were not at Thursday's ceremony. Organizers say they hope and expect them to be at next month's ceremony.
Citizens United Against Violence meet on the first Thursday of every month.