Set amid the botanical garden area of Springfield, Illinois Washington Park is a lovely statue, the Angel of Hope.
With the widespread wings visitors are drawn to the beauty of the statue and it is not until you are next to it that the significance of the statue comes to light. The bronze angel, the only one of its kind located in central Illinois, has a child's face.
Built in 2008 by the Springfield Angel of Hope, a Non-Profit Group founded by parents who have lost a child, they raised all the necessary funds to pay for and install the angel statue. While the angel in Washington Park is the only in central Illinois there are nearly 100 Angel of Hope Statues in other communities across the country with seven others in the state of Illinois
Dedicated in October 2008 the event drew nearly 700 people to this special the angel that measures 4'3" tall and has a wingspan of 5'2". With some careful observation, you can read that the angel even has the word "HOPE" written on the angel's right wing. The Angel of Hope foundation has over 600 area children's names the names on a Memorial Wall behind the angel statue. The dedication ceremony ended with the release of white doves.
The website shares, “Situated in a beautiful natural setting, the Springfield Angel of Hope Statue provides a peaceful place for grieving, remembering, and healing. The children whom the angel statue commemorates should be playing, working, and living in our community - now they will be honored at the Springfield angel statue site for generations to come.”
The story behind the angel is a touching one. The original Angel of Hope Statue is located in Salt Lake City Utah and was modeled after the statue from the book The Christmas Box, a worldwide best-selling story by author Richard Paul Evans who wrote about a woman who mourned the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument.
Facts show that the story that while fiction did describe a statue that once existed but was later destroyed in a flood. The Angel of Hope website said that when grieving parents were seeking out the angel as a place to remember their own children that the author Richard Paul Evans commissioned a new angel statue.
While the statue is a draw to anyone visiting the park, each year the public is invited to attend a 30 minute candlelight remembrance ceremony on December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Angel of Hope Statue. Candles are lit and attendees often bring a white flower to place at the base of the angel statue in memory of their children.
For more information about the statue and events, log onto http://www.springfieldangelofhope.org/walk.asp.