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Throngs of people gathered around the gazebo in Idlewild Park Wednesday evening. Small groups added to the hundreds already there as the sun began to set. It is a rare event when this many people are so somberly quiet; so quiet that you could hear every comforting pat, every embrace, and every whispered word of condolence. The men and women stood shoulder to shoulder, pressed in tight, to honor the memory of Samuel Cross, a local teen that was found dead earlier this week.
Organized by Sam’s friends, the candlelight vigil served as an opportunity for his loved ones to share prayers, songs, and stories of Sam. From the side of an alter comprised of pictures, flowers, and candles, the devastated, confused teens addressed the crowd through choked words to comfort each other and try to make sense of the tragedy.
As the sunlight faded, the orange glow of the candles lit the faces of the mourners. Once the planned readings finished, friends came up to the microphone to share cherished memories from their time with Sam. With each heartfelt story, the mood of the crowd shifted. Several of the later tales even coaxed nostalgic laughter out of the gathering, laughter that had an audible tell of relief.
One of the last groups to take center stage sang Home by Phillip Phillips; a fitting closure to the heartbreaking event.
Hold on, to me as we go / As we roll down this unfamiliar road / And although this wave is stringing us along / Just know you’re not alone / Cause I’m going to make this place your home
It is always tragic to lose someone we love; even more so when they are taken from us before their time. If we can take anything away from this event, it is that Sam was loved and that he will live on in the memory of so many friends and family members.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at Trinity Cathedral, 315 Goldsborough Street, Easton.