Museum holds Ceremony of Remembrance

Tokens of remembrance included flowers and sea shells left on the bricks. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will hold the 18th annual Ceremony of Remembrance at the Edgartown Lighthouse Children’s Memorial on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 1 pm. (Rain date is Sept. 28.) According to a press release, the museum, under license from the town of Edgartown, opens the tower to the public on a seasonal schedule, and maintains the ongoing Children’s Memorial project.

Thirty-nine new stones have been added in the past year, with names of children from across the country. The ceremony is an opportunity for families and friends to gather and remember the children who are part of the memorial. The memorial now holds 849 stones honoring children of all ages.

The idea for placing a memorial at the base of the Edgartown Lighthouse belongs to Rick Harrington, who envisioned it as “one more light to leave on” for his late son Ricky. Quickly the concept grew into a way to memorialize the many children who have died.

As steward of the lighthouse, the museum became enthusiastically involved in the project, the release states. The lighthouse was, at that time, in poor shape. The reconstruction and transformation of its base from crumbling cement to cobblestones engraved with the names of children who have died was supported by contributions from on-Island and off. The Children’s Memorial at the Edgartown Lighthouse was dedicated in 2001, and the following fall saw the first Ceremony of Remembrance, a celebration that has become a beloved tradition for the children’s families and friends.

Saturday will be the 18th observance, and the day will be a celebration with families and friends encouraged to come, spend time, and enjoy music and fellowship. If a decision to postpone the ceremony is necessary due to weather, there will be a recorded message on the museum phone by 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 20; call 508-627-4441.

Stones may be purchased by contacting Betsey Mayhew at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum,, or by calling 508-627-4441, ext. 112.