Tree Lighting Ceremony Honors Victims And Survivors Of Violent Crimes

Saturday, December 1st 2018, 11:05 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

The annual Tree of Honor and Remembrance ceremony was held in Oklahoma City Saturday.

Those affected by violent crimes gathered for the holidays, while remembering what they’ve lost.

The survivors and family members of those who lost their lives shared stories and songs before hanging special ornaments on trees.

Tonia Byers was one of the speakers. In past years, she’s shared her experience as a survivor of sexual assault, but this year, Byers is mourning the loss of her family members.              

“This year is different for me because my daughter and granddaughter were killed in 2017 in a car accident,” Byers said.

Stories like Byers keep organizer Tina Harman coming back each year, planning the event with her colleagues at the Crime Victims Compensation Program. 

"This service is a way for families to network and come together and talk about court cases and to talk about how far they came,” Harman said.

Harman says each year there's about 200 attendees and more than a thousand ornaments.

“The holidays are typically the hardest season for victims of violent crime and survivors,’ Harman said.

The trees will be set in the lobby of the Cox Center for the rest of the month.