Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam this evening hosted the 11th annual "Tennessee Season to Remember" ceremony at First Baptist Church in Nashville to honor victims of homicide. Gov. Haslam was joined by state and local public safety officials to the ceremony, at which families from across Tennessee placed ornaments on memorial wreaths in honor of their loved ones.
"The holidays can be especially difficult for those who have lost loved ones to acts of violence. We hope this ceremony brings some comfort to our fellow Tennesseans who traveled from across the state to honor their families and friends at this special ceremony," Haslam said.
Families and friends placed ornaments on memorial wreaths as the names of their loved ones were read aloud. The wreaths will be displayed in the Tennessee State Capitol building throughout the holiday season.
The Tennessee District Attorneys General Association, the Tennessee Chiefs of Police, and the Tennessee Sheriffs Association also placed ornaments on the wreaths in honor of the victims and the survivors they assist throughout the year.
Ed Wisdom, III served as keynote speaker for the ceremony. Mr. Wisdom founded the Wisdom Foundation in honor of his 71-year-old father, Ed Wisdom, Jr., who was murdered on October 28, 2011 walking from his car to his home in Nashville. To date, police have not charged anyone for the crime. The mission of the Wisdom Foundation is to educate individuals, primarily persons in at-risk circumstances, through scholarships, mentorships, and other programs and services to provide them with the foundation on which to build productive and good lives.
Former Sen. Charlotte Burks, whose husband was the slain Sen. Tommy Burks, and former first lady Andre Conte placed the first ornaments on the wreaths. Ms. Conte started the "Tennessee Season to Remember Ceremony" in 2002.
Scott Couch, anchor at FOX 17 TV in Nashville, served as emcee. Music was provided by the First Baptist Church Handbell Choir and Benita Hill.
The Tennessee Board of Parole, Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration's Office of Criminal Justice Programs, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Secretary of State's Office, Tennessee Attorney General's Office, Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, and Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) organized this year's event.