On Memorial Day, metro group remembers young lives taken too soon by violence

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many people spend Memorial Day reflecting and remembering those who have died serving our country. A local organization is also spending the day remembering those who they’re also calling heroes: young children who were taken too soon due to violence.

A special event was held Monday at Brooking Cemetery in their memory. The movement is called Sooner Than Later. The idea is to reach young children who perhaps don’t have the best role models before it’s too late.

“Sooner Than Later was started after my son was actually murdered in 2015, July 24th,” Andrew Meyers said.

Meyers’ son, Andrew Meyers Jr., was shot and killed when he was 16.

“I still think about it like it happened yesterday,” Meyers said. “I’m never at ease on my son being taken from me and his mother or his sisters and little brothers.”

So now, Meyers makes it his life mission to spread the message of Sooner Than Later, a program that does outreach in the community.

“I wanted to do something for the community, I wanted to do something to help the kids make the right decision, remove them from negative influences they’re surrounded by and lead by example,” Meyers said.

On Memorial Day, Meyers and other members of the group came out to Brooking Cemetery to support other families who lost a young child due to violence.

“What better time to come together and focus on the fact that -- I mean, this is not a good place to be. Nobody wants to be in a cemetery, especially visiting their child, but being a time that we want to remember, and we want to remember not to look back, but look forward,” said Pamela Collins, a volunteer for Sooner Than Later.

Meyers made ribbons with his name and number on it, and group members walked around the cemetery, specifically looking for the graves of children.

“It’s amazing how many teenagers are buried here. That’s probably the most sad thing to me,” Collins said.

They left the ribbons near those graves in hopes of letting them know they’re not alone.

“I think it’s very supporting to the families, for families to see that somebody is taking the time out to support them, and support their child, and raise awareness of the violence going on in the community,” Meyers said.

They stopped and prayed at the graves, praying the families can move forward and use the death of their child to do something positive.

“It’s too late for his son, but it’s not too late for any child who still has a breath. There is hope,” Collins said.

“That’s how I came up with 'sooner than later.' I want their attention before it’s too late,” Meyers said.

For more information, find Sooner Than Later on Facebook.

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