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Dozens remember youth lost

Evening of Remembrance honors those who died in traffic incidents

Posted: September 28, 2013 11:01 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2013 11:01 p.m.
 

Dozens of community members were on hand Saturday evening in Central Park in Saugus for the eighth annual Evening of Remembrance, which is meant to remember young people who died in traffic incidents in and around the Santa Clarita Valley.

Friends and family members came to pay their respects at the Youth Grove in Central Park, which urges people to “know more” about safe driving habits so “no more” young drivers lose their lives as a result of reckless driving.

Each of those commemorated at the grove are represented by a tree stump, symbolizing a life cut short by tragedy on the road.

“Vow today that no more will lose their lives because we drive too fast. No more will die because we drive under the influence. No more will perish because we lapse in attention for just one moment. No more will be lost because of reckless acts on the road,” said Youth Grove Committee member Debbie Knight, as she read the Youth Grove vow. “Join us in a cry that no more names will be added to this memorial.”

The names of all those listed at the grove were read aloud, with those in attendance lighting glow sticks when they recognized a name.

Alice Renolds said the grove should provide an opportunity for people to re-evaluate their driving habits, given the dangers that risky driving can pose.

“We need to reflect on the night and what’s happened here so we are all more responsible drivers,” she said.
Renolds knows the risks all too well, as two of her sons are among the names memorialized at the grove.

“I know the Youth Grove for some parents is the only place where they can come to remember and be close to their child,” Renolds said. “For me this night is very special. For me it’s one way to look at my sons’ pictures, to hear their names. And though it tugs on my heart and makes me cry, it’s remembering them — and that’s always important.”

Valencia resident Tina Dansby attended the event with her son, Kurt, who did interpretive signing to the song “Who You’d Be Today” by Kenny Chesney.

Dansby said it was the first time she had ever been to the Memorial Grove.

“Nothing can prepare you for this,” she said of the grove. “Nothing your parents say will. You have to see it for yourself to get the full impact.”

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