MILTON, Ga. – More than 100 members of the community -family, friends, and well-wishers – came out on the soggy evening of June 9 to hold a vigil for the students of Milton High School who took their own lives this past year.
With soft guitar music playing in the portico of the high school while a light rain fell on the roof, the people gathered for a short ceremony and moments of silence for the dead. Then Chinese lanterns were lit and released up into the sky where they formed a line as they disappeared into the horizon while onlookers paused in reflection.
“The worst thing you can do is lose hope,” said Denise Moss, a neighbor of one of those who died. “Each one of us has our own private battle. If anybody feels they are alone, I want to tell you, you're not. We are a community.”
Kim Drake, a neighbor of one of the victims, organized the event along with the Milton Love Project the day before, the news of which quickly spread around town.
“There was nothing done as a community [for their deaths],” Drake said. “We need to gather as a community. Even our teens, if they don't know these kids, they were still affected.”
Those who suspect a loved one of contemplating suicide are encouraged to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-Suicide (784-2433).