A cloudless September sky stretched wide and blue over the Edgartown Lighthouse Saturday afternoon, where more than 150 people gathered for the annual Ceremony of Remembrance. There are now more than 850 names inscribed on cobblestones surrounding the lighthouse, each belonging to a child whose life ended too soon.

The annual ceremony is when parents and family members return to the lighthouse to remember their children, often decorating the stones with autumn flowers, mini-pumpkins and shells from the beach.

The families, including young children and babies in arms, clustered around the base of the lighthouse as Lucy Mayhew played and sang the Beatles’ wistful love song I Will. This is the first time Ms. Mayhew has joined her mother, Betsey Mayhew for the annual ceremony. The event is organized each year by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and Betsey Mayhew is part of the children’s memorial committee.

“It’s a difficult honor to be here each year for this ceremony,” Betsey Mayhew told the crowd. “Difficult, because I’m aware of the burden that each of you carries, and an honor because we hope this does something to lighten that burden.”

Chris Murphy, who skippers the museum’s vintage catboat Vanity, spoke about the lighthouse’s historic role in guiding mariners, including himself in his commercial fishing days, safely back from sea.

“This lighthouse was critically important,” he said.

Rick Harrington, who first conceived of the children’s memorial after his teenage son was killed in a vehicle accident in 1995, thanked the crowd for gathering once again and the museum staff for putting together the ceremony.

“Thank you for your love and support,” Mr. Harrington said, before Lucy Mayhew performed Tears in Heaven, a song by Eric Clapton about the loss of his young son.

As she sang “Time can break your heart,” many heads were bowed. Others in the audience blinked back tears, closed their eyes or stared through sunglasses at the calm waters of Edgartown Harbor, where fishing boats passed and a distant sail angled toward Cape Pogue.

The Rev. John Schule delivered a blessing for the families and a prayer for the children remembered at the lighthouse.

“So many stones,” he said. “They are more than names here at the edge of the sea at the foot of a beacon of light.”

Reverend Schule wished the families “courage, comfort and peace,” and the ceremony ended with a sing-along, led by Lucy Mayhew, of the children’s gospel song This Little Light of Mine.