Visitors gathered at Metropolitan Park on Saturday to see a beautiful flag display with powerful meaning. Each flag represented a child who died from child abuse.
Last year, 1,530 children died from child abuse or neglect; 146 of those children lived in Florida. There was one flag for each child who died.
"The first thought was it is so lovely to see all these flags, but when you see the reason that they're here, it's very heartbreaking," said Martha Braddock.
Saturday at Metropolitan Park, visitors remembered the children, and learned how to make sure kids like them don't suffer the same fate. Members of the National Exchange Club put the symbols up and held the event. The purpose wasn't just to remember those children lost, but to raise money for child abuse prevention. Proceeds went to the Exchange Club's programs that educate parents on how to take care of their kids.
Among the children remembered was 22-month-old Kyla Hall. The toddler died last year. The medical examiner said she was hit in the chest so hard that her little heart ripped right open. What happened to Kyla was the focus of a Channel 4 investigation. Kyla was returned to her father, although she had been severely abused as an infant. He is now charged with her murder. Stories like Kyla's drew people to the healing field on Saturday, in hopes that money raised would help stop children from being abused.
Tom Boyd told Channel 4's Vic Micolucci he believed education was key. He said, "We think that all we need to do is change the diapers and get out of that stage and everything will be home free, and that isn't exactly how that goes."
If you would like to find out how you can help the Exchange Club prevent child abuse, you can call Amanda at the club at 904-353-3585.