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In Remembrance 2016: Reflections from Captain Joe Byrd Prison Cemetery

Congregational Outreach Director

In Remembrance is an annual event at the Captain Joe Byrd Prison Cemetery in Huntsville, co-hosted by the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Huntsville. On the Saturday after All Souls Day, participants held an interfaith service of remembrance and prayed for the 3,500 families represented by the headstones. 

This is always a powerful event for me. As a staff person, I often get wrapped up in the planning and implementation. But every year at this event, I stand in the midst of the thousands of graves of people who were incarcerated and remember the message that all people are beloved children of God, and I feel a sense of pride that a group of people of faith would come out on a miserable Saturday afternoon to remember those lives. 

This year, I was especially blessed that both of my children were able to attend. A few years ago, my daughter Emily and I had a nice theological talk when we walked to lay some additional flowers at the graves after we'd initially run out. Her reflections on the value of every human life--even when we make mistakes--is a memory that I will never forget. 

She still remembered those lessons this year, but the moment that will stick with me this year is that while Emily, now 9, and I were talking about the event, my one-year-old son started blowing kisses to all of the graves. At 15 months, he obviously had no idea what we were talking about, but for whatever reason, the spirit led him to share a little love at that moment. 

Kids get it. We should value every human life. I felt fortunate to once again participate in an event that helps us remember that lesson on grounds that hold the remains of people who are often forgotten and far too often not valued. 

Note: We were a little late in planning In Remembrance this year. If you would like to help in the planning or promotion next year, please contact


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