For years, the children buried beneath a bare swath of grass at Woodlawn Cemetery lay in anonymity. Nothing marked their final resting places.
To child advocate Donna Coleman, that was unacceptable.
Determined to give the children what they deserved, she began raising money to put headstones on their graves, a campaign that culminated with a Wednesday morning ceremony of song and prayer.
"It gives the children some dignity," Coleman said.
Coleman, co-founder of the Children's Advocacy Alliance, noticed the unmarked graves at the downtown Las Vegas cemetery in November while attending a funeral for Baby Boy Charles, a 7-month-old who died in foster care.
While Coleman stood before Baby Boy Charles' headstone, which was purchased with community donations, she saw another donated headstone for a 2-year-old Adacelli Snyder, who died from neglect. She wondered if more children were buried under the grass nearby.
There were 64 children in unmarked graves, many buried two to a plot. Clark County paid for the burials. Most of the children were from families too poor to afford a burial. Others were children in foster care when they died, Coleman said.
The Children's Advocacy Alliance and Coleman raised $5,000, enough to purchase 43 new headstones.
At Wednesday's ceremony to commemorate the new grave markers, Coleman and others read the names of the children before a group of more than 50 people gathered there.
"As we hear these names, we remember these are our children, the children of our community, and that each of us bears some responsibility," said Gard Jameson, president of the Children's Advocacy Alliance.
After a round of prayers and wistful songs, the group released 64 blue and pink balloons into the air above the Children's Memorial Garden. On the grass below, angel figurines were placed atop the headstones, which were engraved with the children's names and a teddy bear.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at email@example.com or 702-383-0281.