They gathered Saturday morning in Fresno’s Garden of Innocence to bury the remains of five babies who had been abandoned by their families and left nameless.
But the babies were nameless no longer. They are Earle, Sergio, Natalie, Jace and Ernest, named for five people among the more than 100 community members who came to the garden to honor the babes with poems and prayers.
Fresno County Deputy Coroner Kelly Matlock helped bring the national burial program to the Valley in 2012 to ensure that children who are abandoned or left unidentified are given a loving goodbye. Each year, two ceremonies are held at the garden at Mountain View Cemetery, 1411 W. Belmont Ave.
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On Saturday, five urns carrying the remains of a baby were passed around a large circle of those who had gathered for the ceremony. When an urn was put into someone’s hands, it was kissed, embraced and given a personal prayer.
Once the urns completed the circuit, five community members addressed the crowd and talked about why they gave the baby his or her name, and then read a personally written poem.