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April 26, 2002 is National Children's Memorial Flag Day

4/16/2002:   The United States leads the world in homicides against children and youth under age 15, accounting for 73 percent of all homicides of children from birth to age 15 in the world's top 26 industrialized countries. To call attention to the shamefully high number of preventable deaths of children in the U.S., The Child Welfare League of America launched a public awareness campaign in 1998 to direct attention to the tragedy of violent child deaths as part of a sustained national initiative to reduce child mortality.

The centerpiece of the initiative is a simple, moving image of a red flag depicting blue, paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, the white chalk outline of a missing child symbolizes the children lost to violence. Created by a 16-year-old student in Alameda County, California, the Children's Memorial Flag honors each lost child and raises public awareness about the continuing problem of violence against children. The flag is to be flown this year on April 26 in remembrance of the thousands of children who are killed by violence each year. Our hope is that this powerful symbol will ignite action to prevent future occurrences of violence against children.

Last year, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, participated in an impressive bipartisan effort by either flying the flag, issuing proclamations, or participating in ceremonies to memorialize children. National and local publicity was terrific, and the Children's Memorial Flag has become an increasingly recognizable symbol of the need to improve our efforts to protect children.

The Children's Memorial Flag has also received support from mayors, directors of social service agencies and hospitals, district attorneys, police chiefs, and others. Some fly the flag on the fourth Friday of April, others fly it all month long, and many fly the flag throughout the year whenever a child dies from violence.

For more information on this important event, visit www.cwla.org/advocacy/memorialflag.htm. Updates are posted weekly, so please email flag@cwla.org to let us know of your participation. To order the Children's Memorial Flag, which is available in two sizes, visit CWLA's Giftables webpage at www.cwla.org/pubs/giftables.htm or call 800/407-6273.

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