THE HEARTFELT CHILDREN'S MEMORIAL
The Heartfelt Children's Memorial was the dream of three mothers who had a passion to create a place to honor and remember children who have left this world too soon. Located at the corner of Hillcrest and Columbia on the campus of Concordia University in Seward, NE, the memorial park has become a source of peace, comfort, and hope for parents and families who have a missing loved one in their lives.
The memorial, designed by the Clark Enersen Partners, celebrates the lives of children in an environment of community and learning. Each aspect of the memorial was carefully and thoughtfully planned, from landscaping to lighting; from sidewalks to benches, and from art to wall placement.
As you enter into the memorial on the crooked pathway, the symbol of a parents winding journey through grief, the LIFETILE Wall is the first aspect of the memorial park. Boston artist, Rufus Butler Seder's "Fly Home", is a 4 foot by 20 foot glass tile work of art. The processed tiles create holographic movement of a boy and girl running through a meadow surrounded by a host of butterflies. As the children run to the middle of the piece, a large and a small hand appear and grasp in a burst of light. "Fly Home" is the only LIFETILE Wall in Nebraska.
The centerpiece of the memorial is the three brick walls which contain the etched memorial bricks. Children from the Seward community, across Nebraska, from other states and internationally are honored on the walls. Every child has a life story to tell and it is our honor to share those stories with visitors to the memorial. Each year a Celebration of Remembrance is held on the Sunday of Memorial weekend at the memorial site. Children who have been remembered with a brick within the previous year are honored at the event. As the flowering trees planted near the walls grow, their shade will create a sheltering canopy over the walls. Lighting at the memorial makes viewing of the walls available twenty four hours a day.
"The Light", an abstract metal sculpture is located at the end of the winding journey, was created by Concordia Liturgical Arts artist Joshua Smith. The twelve foot iron and stainless steel sculpture is meant to be walked into, providing a space for meditation and prayer. Please visit the sculpture tab to read the conceptual statement by the artist.
The Heartfelt Children's Memorial sign and butterfly garden were added to the memorial site in 2016. The butterfly garden provides a haven for many species of butterflies and other pollinating insects. Butterflies are very meaningful to those who grieve and the garden contributes to our agricultural community. It was deemed a certified butterfly garden by the North American Butterfly Association in 2017.