Martha’s Vineyard Museum holds ceremony of remembrance

Family members and friends gathered Saturday to remember lives cut short. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

A somber ceremony Saturday under clear blue skies marked the 11th anniversary of the Edgartown Lighthouse Children’s Memorial.

More than 500 engraved cobblestones set around the base of the lighthouse provide a tangible link to a life cut short. Each small granite block is engraved with the name of a child who has died.

Families come to visit the memorial throughout the year, not only at the annual gathering each September. The memorial and the annual ceremony is a source of comfort to bereaved family members and friends.

The names represent children of all ages, newborns, teenagers, and even some adults — to a parent, a child remains a child, no matter the age. Although mostly from the New England region, they lived in states across the country, in Canada and abroad. A number were part of the year-round Island community or regular summer residents.

New stones are engraved and placed by Dudley Levick twice a year; a map and list at the site indicates the position of each child’s stone. An engraved stone may be purchased for $250, a cost that hasn’t changed since 2001, the memorial’s first year. The memorial was started by Rick Harrington, who grew up in Edgartown, in memory of his son Ricky.

Saturday’s observance included brief remarks and a prayer by The Rev. Dr. John Schule.

For information or to purchase a stone, call Betsey Mayhew, 508-627-4441, ext. 112.