Violent crime victims, survivors of violent crimes along with their families gathered at the Duval Country Courthouse Wednesday for the 16th Annual Tree of Angels ceremony.

“The idea of the ceremony is to remember victims of violent crimes,” said Omar Escobar, 229th Judical District Attorney. “The ceremony is to honor the victims and their families.”

The Tree of Angels was started in Austin by Verna Lee Carr, executive advisor of People Against Violent Crime, to recognize that the holiday season is a difficult time for victims and their families.

During the ceremony, Rachel Serna shared her story of abuse at the hands of her ex-husband during their 20 year marriage.

There was a lighting of candles, the lighting of the Christmas tree and the adornment of the Christmas tree with the angel ornaments as people in attendance wiped tears away.

The Tree of Angels is in memory and to support victims and survivors of a violent crime and for those who are missing a loved one.

“It's good that this year we have no new angels going up,” said Duval County Judge Ricardo “Rocky” Carrillo.

Duval County Sheriff Romeo Ramirez read a proclamation by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that proclaimed Dec. 7 through the 13 as Tree of Angels Week in Texas.