FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Forty-five people: that's how many lost their lives in Georgia as a result of domestic violence in 2009.
In a show of unity against domestic violence and to honor those who lost their lives, members of the Fort McPherson community gathered Oct. 27 on Hedekin Field to release purple balloons and learn how to help reduce those numbers. Kathy Epps, Family life educator, Army Community Service (ACS), said the community chose to do something different this year to close out Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Usually, she said, awareness is increased by signs and volunteers giving out educational materials at entrance gates.
This year, rather than going into the community, the decision was made to have the community gather together.
"It went really well. We touched a few people," Epps said.
As for the balloons, Chap. (Capt.) Fred Wendell, U.S. Army Garrison Catholic chaplain, said they represented the use of faith to overcome adversity.
"We send forth these balloons as a symbolic reminder that we look to you (God), who reign above all," he said.
The release of balloons also symbolized a release of the pain and suffering caused by those "who too often use violence as a means to deal with their own personal issues," Wendell added.
Prayer was offered to those dealing with issues in the hopes that healing would also be brought into their lives, said Wendell.
Healing entails not only those who suffer under domestic violence, but also their Families, Epps said.
The protection of Families is one of the reasons for the importance of such remembrance ceremonies, she added.