More than 100 strangers gathered Saturday morning at Mountain View Cemetery to name and honor 15 Fresno County babies who also were strangers, abandoned by their families and unidentified.
Karl, Janette, Monson, Adelita, Esperanza, Matthew, Rebekah, Elise, Austin, Dee, Kelly, Ezekiel, Kenzie, Sofia and Kolby were laid to rest by volunteers who tend to Fresno’s Garden of Innocence at the cemetery.
“We have to mourn for them, because otherwise no one will,” said Pastor Josh Hawley of The Well Community Church. “Each one of these babies was truly a miracle, and although their bodies cease to function, their souls live on.”
Funeral ceremonies took place at 10 a.m., where a circle of love was formed. Urns holding the remains of each infant were passed from person to person to signify recognition of and love for each child.
Even though their lives were short, Hawley said, each child accomplished a great work in bringing members of the community together.
“We are gathered here today because of them, and we take time to reflect on those things that really matter, those people that really matter, so that we can make the most of the very brief time that we have here on Earth,” Hawley said.
Each one of these babies was truly a miracle, and although their bodies cease to function, their souls live on.
Pastor Josh Hawley
Individual poems were written and read for each child, including a special poem presented by 10-year-old Katie Cuevas of Yokomi Elementary School.
“It’s not fair that us other kids get to live, and other babies that are barely born right away have to get sent to heaven,” Cuevas said. “That’s why I wrote the poem for them, so that they could be remembered.”
Attendees also scattered rose petals for the babies and released doves in their honor to conclude the ceremony.
Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea also spoke at the event, saying he was proud to support ordinances recognizing these babies.
“As my last year as a county supervisor, I look back on a lot of things I have accomplished, but this is one of the proudest things I have done because it respects life, it respects dignity, it respects children,” Perea said.
Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614