Guest Post from Compassionate Friends
Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting®
Hundreds of Open Services Now Being Planned for Worldwide Candle Lighting December 11 to Remember Children
Anticipation of a very special and memorable day grows as the 15th Worldwide Candle Lighting December 11, 2011 nears. The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.
Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.
In 2010, information was submitted to TCF’s national website on services in 15 countries outside the United States including more than 530 services, as this special day continues to grow. TCF has been joined in recent years by chapters of several organizations including MISS, MADD, Parents of Murdered Children, SIDS Network, Gilda’s Club, and BPUSA and for several years services have been held in all 50 states plus WashingtonD.C. and Puerto Rico. There is no way to know how many hundreds of additional services open to the public are held in the U.S. and around the world each year without the information being sent to us.
The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations were joined in 2010 by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.
Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF’s national website. Last year in that short one day span, nearly five thousand messages of love were received and posted from every U.S. state and Washington D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries, with some posts in foreign languages.
Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured over the years in Dear Abby, Annie’s Mailbox, Ann Landers column, Parade Magazine, Guideposts magazine, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites and hundreds of personal blogs. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services (of which we are advised) is posted on TCF’s national website every year as the event nears.
View Dear Abby’s column from December 4, 2011 and read a letter from TCF’s Executive Director Pat Loder about what this event means to those who have suffered the tragic loss of a child. Here’s a news video posted December 8, 2011 about The Compassionate Friends and the Worldwide Candle Lighting by KLTV in Tyler,TX.
If no Worldwide Candle Lighting service was held near you last year, please feel free to plan one open to the public this year or next year. You are welcome to use TCF’s “Suggestions to Help Plan a Memorial Service in Conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting©” to help in planning the service. All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance. When you firm up plans for your candle lighting, open to the public, please return to this site and submit the event information form so TCF can list your service with the many hundreds held in the United States and around the world. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child . . . that their light may always shine!
Media Stories and Videos on the 2010 Worldwide Candle Lighting
TCF 2010 Worldwide Candle Lighting Press Release (Oct. 6, 2010): Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting During Holiday Season Remembers All Children Who Have Died