Community honors ‘Huntsville’s Angels’ who were lost through acts of violence

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The city came together to remember and honor "Huntsville's Angels." They're young people whose lives were taken too soon through different acts of violence. "It really heals my heart a lot," said Donna Howell, organizer of the event and mother of an angel. "I love these kids. Every time I put a new picture up, I hate putting that picture up," Howell said.

Gun violence stole the lives of these children and left their families behind to heal. "Today we didn't do a solemn thing. We kind of celebrated our kids lives and it's kind of neat to see all our kids on our shirts," Howell said.

Howell's son, Larry, would've been 20 years old this week. To celebrate his birthday, she commemorates all of the children in Huntsville who've lost their lives in a similar way. "They'll tell me it means so much to them, but it really means so much more to me because my son loved people."

While it's important to honor their special angels, Donna said it's time to start bringing more awareness to the devastation that murder brings. "I'm fighting to have laws changed, which allow leniency with sentencing. Somebody else may be stronger at mentoring. Someone else may be better at sitting down and speaking with the victims."

That way no one else has to bury a child like many of these other parents have done. "I'll start feeling sorry for me and then just around the corner or just down the street someone is going through the same thing I am or worse," she said.

Donna said events like these give those still grieving a chance to lean and depend on each other to make those holidays and even birthdays a little easier.