A small crowd of about 45 gathered on the courthouse green in Storm Lake Thursday evening for the annual vigil against child abuse - several of those attending with their own small children in tow.
Storm Lake police and fire department representatives stood with the others, in recorgnition that they are often the first on the scene of a tragedy involving children.
Five gingerbread man-style cutouts stood on the courthouse lawn, each with a pinwheel, representing children in Iowa who were killed by abusers in 2007.
One bore the name of a newborn, who died after being dumped down a laundry chute last June by a young mother from Solon who bore the child while celebrating spring break in Florida.
Students from Buena Vista University performed an interpretive dance, and the song "Concrete Angel."
"Somebody cries in the middle of the night / The neighbors hear but they turn out the lights / A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate / When morning comes it will be too late."
Emcee Sue Morrow spoke of the Court Appointed Special Advocates program for children in Buena Vista County, which is in need of more volunteers.
Advocate and Buena Vista University student Janet Pedroza was this year's keynote speaker.
"Year after year, new graves are dug, and children's hearts and love are taken for granted," she said, as the crowd held candles in memory of those who suffer from child abuse.
"How many more deaths will it take for society to change?"
She called for the community to listen to its children with a greater level of respect and protective action, and also urged those attending to support efforts to convince federal officials to add a U.S. Signature to the Children's Bill of Rights, currently on the table before the United Nations.