Families of Murder Victims Gather for National Day of Remembrance 

Tuesday was the annual gathering of a group that has something tragic in common. They’re all the family members and loved ones of murder victims.”I find a great comfort to be able to come and speak with others who have experienced loss due to violence and it’s a place where I don’t have to worry about making others feel bad when I talk about some of the feelings and memories that I have,” said Nan Bell, whose son Matthew was murdered when he was just 9-years-old. The group holds a ceremony each year on the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. This year they were joined by Governor Paul LePage, Attorney General William Schneider, State Police Lt. Christopher Coleman, as well as other Maine officials.Although it’s violence and grief that brings them together, Maine Chapter President of Parents of Murdered Children Arthur Jette tries to make the ceremony uplifting.He said, “The Day of Remembrance gives us an opportunity to remember the victims themselves without concentrating in any way on the manner in which they were murdered or the cause of their death. In particular, we don’t pay any attention at all on this day to the person who is responsible for the taking of their life. We concentrate on the memories of the individuals that we lost.”Bell knows all too well that it can be hard to focus on those happy memories, but she said you can get there, even though the pain never goes away.She said, “To be able to remember the good times, is a place to work towards. It’s a journey of healing where you get to and you can actually smile. You can remember those happy times.”And in that way, they remember their loved ones for the people they were and the lives they had, and not the way they died.