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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette LeAnn Bennett places an ornament her late husband, Kevin Bennett, during the annual Remembrance Tree event at Lutheran Hospital on Saturday.

  • Amira M. Surry looks on as Sara Smart makes an ornament for Amira’s family member Jayva Horton.

  • Ornaments hang on the tree during the annual Remembrance Tree event.

Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:00 am

Ornaments hung to recall loved ones

9th annual event is meant to help bring comfort

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Early Saturday morning, dozens of ornaments bearing the names of loved ones who have passed on glimmered in the light of three Christmas trees in Lutheran Hospital's south lobby.

It was the ninth time the hospital has invited the public to decorate and hang ornaments remembering loved ones who no longer walk this earth, said Sherry Cotner, a nurse who oversees Lutheran's bereavement program. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one was invited to Saturday's event, which featured live music and memory-making activities for children. 

Each of the ornaments contained a feather to symbolize remembrance, Cotner said. The feather, Cotner said, means someone is watching over us from above. Last year, 450 ornaments were placed. Event officials hoped to see the same or more names represented this year. Participants were also able to choose ornaments to memorialize fallen soldiers, firefighters or police officers and organ donors.

“I think it brings people comfort, knowing that the holiday season their loved ones that passed before are remembered,” Cotner said. “Because, let's face it, the holidays are a very difficult season, especially for people who have lost someone.”

The annual event began in 2009 with an idea from a bereaved family, Cotner said. 

“This was their way of remembering their mother,” she said. “And we've just carried on.”