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National Day of Remembrance for murder victims will be a defining event

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There is no greater sorrow for a parent who loses a child. It is certain that the sorrow is deepest still when a child's life is taken as a result of a heinous crime. Lee Fickenworth of Lawrence knows this pain when her son Gabriel Gonzalez succumbed to the ravages of a murderous crime on June 28, 2009. Gabriel was 18 years old. In a special way though her sorrow was mitigated slightly as her son's remains provided the gift of life for 4 people ranging from 3 years of age to 60.

3 months after Gabriel's murder Lee attended a special event in Lowell; National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. Lee sobbed and was deeply moved as the names of murder victims, many of them teens just like her son were read out loud . Lee joined the organization shortly afterwards and has been an active leader in it since then.

With the help of many friends and the support of leaders such as Mayor Rivera Lee has brought this event to Lawrence and the first is planned for September 27th , at 1:00 PM on Campagnone Common. Sadly, there are 27 victims of murder since Gabriel lost his life and it is Lee's mission to honor their memory in a special way. This event is part of a groundswell of similar events where calls for peace, justice and examining our public policy responses ranging from gun control, victim's rights and public protection are being made all over the country.

I believe that this event is an opportunity to reach out to our local children in troubled homes, broken neighborhoods and the shadows of our communities where crime occurs openly. A life of crime can never lead to a good life and will often lead to death and heartbreak. Every parent, community leader and official has a responsibility to relate this message to our most troubled teens. A close and continual examination of public policy and a commitment to resources is also a vital necessity to ensure it.

Even though at times the challenges seem insurmountable, Lee and her supporters believe that with patience, commitment and love the message will reach and ultimately save many.

One life saved and put on a path to contribute to the betterment of others is a worthy goal indeed. Lee's mission is universally important!

Joe D'Amore
Groveland, MA

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