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Keep Their Love Light Shining



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As we move into and through next week, marking ten years since Newtown experienced the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the nearly 30,000 members of our community continue to also reckon individually with what happened, the ways they are coping, and whether that coping may be providing some degree of recovery or resilience.

Those outside our community — save for those who were here then but have since relocated — may be prompted to think about us and the victims of December 14, 2012 only when encouraged by the media either around the date’s annual passing or when it is inevitably referenced in connection with yet another school shooting or mass casualty incident, while many of those who were here or remain here continue to think about it daily, or hourly, or constantly, like the parents, loved ones, and friends of those lost.

One of those parents, JoAnn Bacon, whose daughter Charlotte was among the victims, shared some inspiring words at the recent pre-opening gathering for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial. She reminded those gathered and anyone who has since read her remarks here in The Newtown Bee, that “...humans will often disconnect from history that they cannot reconcile.”

At the same time, she referred to the memorial as “a mile marker where we can look behind and see where we have been and then look forward to the direction of where we need to go.”

If you are looking for a place to go to remember or reckon or make a difference in the world, you need look no further than a big green heart (designed by Bill Begany of Sandy Hook) with the names of each 12/14 victim that resides on the website of the Newtown Sandy Hook Community Foundation (nshcf.org/donations). Clicking there will bring you to mysandyhookfamily.org, where you can click on most of the names and revisit or learn about these beautiful children and educators, and in many cases, how their loss is being honored by the ones who loved them and knew them best.

Imagine how much better our world could be if anyone who thought about or talked about our tragedy actually connected to one or more of the victims through this resource. Then, envision the benefits of taking one critical step further: supporting one or more of the nonprofit organizations and foundations that emerged in the aftermath of 12/14 thanks to the incredible strength and resilience of those closest to these 26 angels.

Through such a connection, and by supporting the work being carried on in their names, you will play a role in keeping their memory, and the love they felt and so innocently expressed while they were alive.

As JoAnn Bacon expressed on that warm autumn morning at the memorial with such knowing, heartfelt sentiment: “Our personalities, experiences and relationships with the dead guide how we grieve, but the most fundamental need is the same. To hear the name of our beloved on the lips of others. Remembrance allows those left behind to keep their loved ones in the present rather than relegate them to the past.”

You have the power to keep their love light shining brightly by saying their names and supporting a cause that has emerged to help remember them while doing good in the world.

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