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Thursday candlelight vigil will honor memory of deceased children

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Dec 05 2012 06:31:45 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 07:10:21 PM CST

Caleb James reports.


On Thursday in Idaho Falls, families and friends will gather at Fielding Memorial Cemetery to honor the memories of children who have lost their lives.

The 6 p.m. candlelight vigil will mark International Childrens' Day.  

Idaho Falls grandmother Linda Hale is one of the vigil's organizers. 

"We lost a granddaughter," said Hale on Wednesday. "She was 21 months old when she passed away."   

Hale and her husband, Terry, visited Fielding Memorial on Wednesday morning. 

In the midst of the rain and wind, and through the cold and darkness of the day, the Hales were warmed beneath an angel's wings. 

"It's really comforting to us that people are using the statue as a place to remember," she said, as she pointed to a statue of an angel with outstretched wings. 

The angel stands watch at the Idaho Falls cemetery. She is the Christmas Box Angel. She's the angel with hope in her wings.

"If you'll notice, there's the word 'hope' in her wing," said Hale, as she traced the outline of the word where it is drawn on the underside of the angel's right wing. 

The Idaho Falls angel was born out of tragedy. 

"Our little granddaughter is just buried right over there," said Hale, with a gesture to the cemetery beyond. 

Not long after losing her infant granddaughter, JaeLyn, Linda read Richard Paul Evan's short story, "The Christmas Box." 

"It's the story of a mother who mourns the loss of her child," she explained. 

In the story, a mother mourns at a statue of an angel -- an angel with hope in her wings. 

"After he did that book people asked him all the time, where's the statue in the cemetery?" said Hale. "And there was no statue, because it was a book of fiction."

But there was a need for a place of remembrance. Over the years, more than 100 of the angels have been placed in cemeteries around the world. The Hale's knew they needed to bring her here, too. 

"We have to do this," Hale recalled thinking, after reading the story. 

So, 5 years ago, with donations and help from the city, an angel with hope in her wings found her Idaho home. It is a place to mourn the loss of children everywhere.

"We can be together, and remember together, and share stories together," said Hale.

That's exactly the idea behind Thursday's vigil.  

The candlelight vigil to honor the memories of children who've passed will be held Thursday, Dec. 6th. 

Participants will gather at the Christmas Box Angel statue at Fielding Memorial Cemetery in Idaho Falls from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with music by the Idaho Falls Sounds Choir. Participants are encouraged to bring a flower to place at the memorial.