The 19th annual Tennessee Season to Remember was live-streamed on the First Baptist Church’s YouTube. Valencia Wicker of WKRN News 2 hosted the event again this year. She began and said that she was honored to lead the ceremony again, and that “tonight we pause to memorialize and honor victims of homicide across our state.”
She continued and said that while the event has been held in person in the past, due to another year of COVID regulations, the event would be live-streamed to keep everyone safe. But, the Tennessee Season to Remember has become a tradition, she said, “through this event, we have been remembering and honoring homicide victims since 2003.”
Andrea Conte, former First Lady of Tennessee and founder of both Tennessee Season to Remember and the nonprofit group You Have the Power spoke at the ceremony. She began by thanking everyone who was able to put the event together and said that “this event is a grassroots movement that grew out of a homicide survivor group. The group knew that holidays can be especially painful when you’ve lost a family member to violence.”
Conte continued to explain the history of Tennessee Season to Remember, where usually family members of homicide victims would join together and put ornaments on a Christmas Tree to honor the loved ones they had lost. She said the first ceremony was held in the Mayor’s office and continued to explain that aside from the ceremony, that there is the Children’s Memory Garden of Nashville that memorializes children who have lost their lives to violence as well.
After she spoke, a pre-recorded video from Governor Bill Lee was played. Lee, who could not attend the ceremony, said that “to each and every person who’s lost a loved one to violent crime, we are praying with you, especially throughout this holiday season.”
Jill Colucci performed at the event, and before she sang her first song, she shared that at the 2021 Conference for Parents of Murdered Children, she had heard many stories that moved her. She said she met with her co-writer, and they wrote the song the next day. She said to those who have lost a loved one to homicide, “I have experienced a lot of loss, I have not been through your particular loss. And, quite frankly, I can barely imagine it.”
The night’s keynote speaker was Lisa Baker, a widow who lost her husband, Daniel Scott Baker in 2018. She said she was honored to be the keynote speaker, and reflected on her first Tennessee Season to Remember. “In a room full of strangers, we now share a special bond.”
She spoke about her husband, and how his loss affected both her and their daughter. She said, “I just want all of you out there to know, that whatever your feelings are, whatever you feel, that you can and cannot do, it is ok.” She said that during her first holiday without her husband, she tried to ignore the holidays so she wouldn’t feel the pain of his absence, but that the holidays still came, and so did the pain.
The ceremony then continued with the names of each victim read aloud, and a bell rang in their honor. Over 200 names were read to honor each life lost.
Watch the evening ceremony here:
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