Mementos, including flowers, pumpkins and shells, were left at engraved stones. — Sara Brown

Under a nearly cloudless blue sky on Saturday afternoon, parents and children gathered at the Edgartown Lighthouse Children’s Memorial for the 13th annual Ceremony of Remembrance. At the base of the lighthouse, they brushed away sand from the granite stones that are engraved with the names of children who have died.

People stood and sat on the wide stone foundation, talking quietly as a steady breeze blew in from the harbor. Some placed shells, starfish, pumpkins and other objects on the stones, while others knelt with paintbrushes to fill in the letters with dark ink.

One quahaug shell was inscribed on the inside with purple marker: “On the coast of somewhere beautiful.”

Betsey Mayhew: “No matter the reason for the loss, the lighthouse doesn’t care. It just keeps shining.” — Sara Brown

The memorial was conceived by Rick Harrington in the 1990s after his son Ricky was killed in a car accident. It was dedicated on July 14, 2001, and new cobblestones are added each year to the base of the lighthouse.

There are now 651 stones, including 26 added in the last year.

Betsey Mayhew of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, which is the steward of the lighthouse, welcomed the 200 or so visitors to the ceremony.

In a short address, she offered 13 reasons for the lighthouse memorial. “The first is it welcomes you,” she said. “The second reason is that is also says farewell.”

She spoke of the lighthouse as a metaphor for stability, serenity and openness. “Over all of the activity, it stands and watches,” she said.

“It oversees the light and darkness, the activity of summer and the cold winds and loneliness of winter.

“Each person is important; each child is important. No matter the reason for the loss, the lighthouse doesn’t care. It just keeps shining.”

Ceremony included songs and a prayer. — Sara Brown

She closed by reading from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem The Lighthouse.

Cindy Magsom Krauss, a singer and guitarist, performed the traditional song Decoration Day (an earlier name for Memorial Day), and Smallest Wingless by Craig Cardiff.

Museum director David Nathans offered a prayer and Ms. Krauss closed the ceremony with Hosea by John Michael Talbot.

Visitors lingered at the site into the afternoon, talking quietly and adorning the stones. Children on the beach tossed a football as visitors enjoyed the view from atop the lighthouse, which was open free of charge throughout the day.