PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – Families and loved ones of missing persons gathered Thursday at Bartram Park in Pensacola, hoping to spread awareness and honor the people in their lives who seemingly disappeared. Hawkshaw Lagoon Memorial Park is the home of the only National Memorial to Missing Children.
The group walked from Bartram Park to the Memorial, in memory of those we’re still searching for.
“It can happen to the privileged kid at high school,” one woman said as she walked to the memorial. “The super smart college girl… the president, class president… it can happen to anybody.”
Organizers and family members of missing persons are hoping the walk on Thursday can raise awareness about educating the public on missing persons.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure this is taken care of as a community,” said Cindy Daniels, whose daughter Tiffany has been missing since 2013. “It affects the entire community. It doesn’t just affect one or two families.”
May 25th is National Missing Children’s Day, but when your child is the one missing, there’s no day that passes where they don’t occupy your mind.
“Just how much I miss Danielle,” said Susan Bell when asked what she was thinking about as she walked. Her daughter has been missing since 2001. “How much I’ve missed out on… Our whole family has missed out on”
The group walked down Bayfront Parkway to the national memorial, and one by one took a walk down the bridge. They paused at the end for a moment of silence and remembrance.
“It’s not just for Danielle,” Susan Bell said of why she walked. “It’s to get more awareness out there. If I can keep this from happening to just one other kid or person then it makes me feel a lot better.”
The group was encouraged by those who joined them and discouraged some people did not.
“You can get out there and enforce the law all you want to,” said Daniels of the lack of law enforcement or public officials at the walk. “But how about we wanna know your values are as good as our values, or you care about family as much as we do. So becoming involved in community events like this and community outreach is very important for these people.”
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If you have any information about a missing person, you can contact your local law enforcement, or call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Hotline at 1-800-843-5678.