BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Hundreds of people came to Faith Chapel this morning to remember the life of Aniah Blanchard. The celebration included dignitaries from the city of Homewood, elected officials, and president of the UFC, Dana White.
It was a heartfelt tribute.
“We honor her memory the best way we know how,” says the Homewood High JROTC.
“Want to thank you Lord for her laughter, for her smile, for her encouraging spirit,” says Dr. John Cantelow of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.
One of the more touching moments was Aniah’s next door neighbor’s message to her older brother, Elijah.
“She wants you to press on and press through. No matter how hard days may be, this eternal mindset is for you. It’s for you, Elijah, to keep pushing through work and through school because her simple words to you growing up were, ‘you got this big bro’,” says Courtney Lewis.
The honors continued…. A proclamation from the City of Homewood declaring today Aniah Blanchard Day, and Homewood City Schools Superintendent naming a new scholarship after Aniah. She was also remembered by her Homewood High softball teammates.
“As a teammate, Aniah had a way of making the best of every situation with her laugh,” says Tiffany Statum.
“She lived to make people happy, she truly embodied Christ,” says Hannah Crocker.
Aniah’s aunt, Ora Jerald, pointing out the best thing to come from this tragedy.
“In the midst of something that should have been tragedy, God has a way of turning it to good. The good is how we have unified. And so that tells us a lot about the transfer of what happened and tragedy in Aniah’s life to what is going to happen. And that is going to be a rebirth of new things, something good, something that’s celebratory,” says Jerald.
“The ceremony was very heartfelt, you could feel her energy just throughout the church, it was beautiful,” says family friend Angela Johnson.
“We learned from her to work hard and be kind to others. We love you, Aniah and we will miss you. We are so happy you were our sissy,” says Aniah’s younger sister.
Aniah’s stepmother, who is also an attorney, says they will work to change laws so this won’t happen again. They are working to create an Aniah Blanchard Alert for missing or kidnapped people ages 18 to 64, since neither the Amber Alert, nor the silver alert covers those ages.