About sixty people gathered Tuesday night in Jones County to remember the Moss family.
Friends tied messages to balloon strings before releasing them.
Friends of the Moss family gathered Tuesday night near the Jones County Courthouse to remember three members of the family who were murdered in 1998.
On the day that one of the convicted murderers had been scheduled to be executed, friends say the Moss family will always be remembered.
They opened the memorial with a prayer for closure and healing.
But family friend Brittany Upshaw says the day wasn't all about reflecting on the pain of the past. She says they also celebrated the lives of Steven, Kristen and Bryan Moss.
Stephen Moss and his two children were murdered in 1998 when they interrupted a burglary in progress at their home.
Upshaw says the pain of that day is still fresh in her mind.
"It doesn't feel like it was twelve years ago," she says. "It feels like it was yesterday."
The group released balloons that they say carry messages to heaven.
Messages for Kristen, who friends remember as an out going and athletic fifteen year old.
Messages for Bryan, who they called a protector and a friend.
And messages for Steven, a man whose friends say he could always make them laugh.
They also lit candles in remembrance of the family and shared their memories.
For people like Clint Glidden, who was Kristen's boyfriend, those memories are as sharp now as they were in 1998.
Glidden says everyday of the last month of Kristen's life, he got off the school bus with her.
Then one day he didn't, and he never saw her again.
He says, he can't remember what kept him from getting off the bus with her, but he does vividly recall his last images of Kristen.
"The last memory I have of her is her walking down the driveway in her new easter dress."
He says she always brought out the best in him, and life without her has been lonely. "The only time I did good in school is when we were dating so my mom would let me do things."
Upshaw says there are a lot of people in Jones' County whose memories haven't faded in the past twelve years.
"I think about them every day. There's not a time goes by that I'm not remembering them."
And she says, that was the purpose of the memorial: to show people they remember, and to say they'll never forget.