Update: Compassionate Friends candle lighting today, 7 p.m.
December 14, 2008 · Updated 7:28 AM
The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting takes place in Friday Harbor today, 7 p.m., on the corner of Spring and Second streets.
If the weather is too cold, the candle lighting will move to the Windermere Real Estate office conference room.
The event is open to the public. Kathleen Wilson and Pat Gislason will sing a song that Wilson wrote in memory of her late brother, Frank Wilson, the long-time San Juan EMS chief. Joyce Jones will speak. The names of local children of all ages who have passed away will be read.
A public reception will follow in the offices of Windermere Real Estate San Juan Islands. Refreshments will be served.
The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lighted at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light. Hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memories 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 from The Compassionate Friends to the bereavement community, 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.
The 2007 Worldwide Candle Lighting saw information on services received from 21 countries outside the United States. Joining The Compassionate Friends last year were chapters of several bereavement organizations, including MISS, Twinless Twins, MADD, Parents of Murdered Children, and BPUSA. Services were held in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
A Remembrance Book is available during the event at The Compassionate Friends USA national Web site, www.compassionatefriends.org. In that one-day span, thousands of messages are received and posted each year from every U.S. state and Washington, D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries. Some are in foreign languages.
Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured over the years in Dear Abby, Parade Magazine, Ann Landers column, Guideposts magazine, Annie’s Mailbox, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites and personal blogs.
People are invited to light a candle at 7 p.m. for one hour, wherever they may be.