Eighteen years ago, the abduction of a beautiful young girl with a toothy smile, shook the country and brought about a long overdue change.
Amber Hagerman was 9 when she was taken on Jan. 12, 1996 near her Arlington Texas home. It is little Amber’s kidnapping launched the Amber Alert system that bares her name and has since helped reunite dozens of abducted children with their families.
Today, Monday, Jan 13, we observe Amber Alert Awareness Day in honor of the little girl whose story inspired the system and those who the alerts have helped. The U.S. Department of Justice officially declared the observance day in 2006, according to the AmberAlert.com.
Her disappearance marked the start of another desperate search and sparked the obvious question from one man, “When a child is abducted and each minute matters, why can't the police and the media get together to inform the public with the same urgency of, say, a weather warning about a tornado or a hurricane?” according to TruTV’s crime library.
“The purpose of National AMBER Alert Awareness Day is to raise the public’s awareness of the AMBER Program and to get everyone involved in efforts to safely recover missing children,” program members wrote on their website. “As of January 7, 2010, the AMBER Alert Program was directly responsible for the safe recovery of 495 children.”