AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Families came together to honor their loved ones at the 21st annual Angel Tree Ceremony in Akron Monday night.
The ceremony, organized by the Victim Assistance Program, remembers more than 900 homicide victims who died in Summit County over the past two decades.
Dozens of families found an angel Christmas ornament in the name of their loved ones to place on the trees at Akron Public Library.
The faces of homicide victims filled a large poster in the lobby.
The family of Ronald Roberts says the pain does not go away or get any easier, but events like this help them realize they're not forgotten.
"I feel like we all have something in common, we all have a loss. Some of them are brothers, cousins, uncles, but it still hurts when you wake up and somebody's not there," said Donald Roberts.
Donald's younger brother Ronald was just 24 when he and three other people were shot execution-style in an apartment near Chapel Hill Mall.
Police said drugs may have been involved.
"All four of them murdered, and I don't know when it's going to stop. But the pain never goes away, it never goes away," said his grandmother Carolyn Johnson. "We get through it by being together and trying to pull ourselves together. It's been three years but it's like it happened yesterday."
The angel ornaments now hanging from Christmas trees are a small gesture to show families they are not alone.
"I don't know what it's going to take, but I know mothers are tired of burying their children," Johnson said.
The Christmas trees and the Wall of Remembrance will be on display at the Akron Public Library throughout December.
The Victim Assistance Program has a 24-hour hotline available for families: (330) 376-0040.