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story.lead_photo.caption Father Anthony Viviano leads a memorial service Saturday at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Holts Summit for the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. Photo by Ken Barnes / News Tribune.

Area residents gathered at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Holts Summit on Saturday to mark the eighth annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.

Those who came were participating in a national event, which is co-sponsored by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League.

This was the eighth annual event held for this day in Holts Summit. The local event is sponsored by St. Andrew Pro-Life Committee and Columbia 40 Days For Life.

Kathy Forck, an organizer of the Holts Summit event, said this was the largest attendance the event has had since they started holding it. Forck works with Columbia 40 Days For Life, an anti-abortion organization.

"We want to see Missouri become the first abortion free state," Forck said.

The service was lead by Father Anthony Viviano, of St. Joesph, who serves as the Pro-Life ministry moderator for the Diocese of Jefferson City.

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Viviano said the event is meant to draw awareness to abortion.

"It's to evoke something from us," Viviano said. "It's to move us even deeper than we are already moved."

As part of the national event, supporters of the movement are called to visit memorials and grave sites that have been set up for aborted children.

"To actually go to the graves is a very evoking experience," Viviano said. "This is real. This was a life. There was a death, and there was a burial. It really brings home the gravity of what we're talking about. It makes it real."

Attendees of the service prayed for not only the aborted children but for those who have, for a variety of reasons, gone through the process of an abortion.

"It's incumbent upon us as we pray for a culture of life, we really pray for those who are immersed in that life," Viviano said.

In a news release, Columbia 40 Days For Life said they wanted the event to remind the community that abortion is not just a political issue, following discussions about abortion during the Republican National Convention.

Attendees ended the service by placing roses on the Memorial to the Unborn outside of the church.

The first National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children was held in September 2013 to mark the 25th anniversary of the burial of several hundred abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Memorial services were held at 38 burial places of abortion victims nationwide, as well as scores of other memorial sites dedicated to these children. The Day of Remembrance is now held annually on the second Saturday in September.

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