One by one early Monday afternoon, family members of those lost on 12/14 filed out of the home of Annette Sullivan, where eight of the children who died that day used to ride horses and enjoy the sprawling estate tucked away on a quiet cul-de-sac in Sandy Hook.
Representatives of more than a dozen victims' families walked to an adjacent pool house and conducted a brief press conference to announce the launch of a new website, MySandyHookFamily.org, and to tell the world that on the upcoming anniversary of the tragedy, they would each be lighting a candle in memory of their departed loved ones.
Among those in attendance were members of the Rekos, Bacon, Barden, Pinto, McDonnell, Marquez-Greene, Parker, Hensel, Wheeler, Mattioli, Soto, Rousseau, Hochsprung, Heslin, Lewis, and Kowalski families.
Reading from a prepared statement, Krista Rekos said that since the incident, the families of those lost have been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness, love prayers and generosity received from the entire world.
"To simply say thank you is not enough to express our sincere gratitude," she added. "In the midst of our grief we have come to realize that we want our loved ones to be remembered for the lives they lived and how they touched our hearts."
In announcing the website launch, she said the families hoped to keep the “spirit of unity and love alive in all we do to remember those we so dearly miss.” The site is intended to serve as a place for sharing, communication, and contact with the families of those who lost loved ones on 12/14, and to honor them.
JoAnn Bacon then asked that the media and those watching to understand that each family is unique in their own experience, and that each has their own unique voice and perspective. The site will not only serve as a means for those outside the immediate circle of survivors to honor those lost, but will also respect "each family's individual journey and unique experiences."
The group acknowledged that on the first anniversary, they know the world will be thinking about them, their families, and the children and educators who died, and asked that everyone perform an act of kindness or volunteering with a charitable organization in their local community.
"In their way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world," Ms Bacon concluded. Then, in turn, each family member approached the microphone to say that on Saturday, each will be lighting a candle in memory of their loved one.