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PHOTOS: Sandy Hook Memorials Are a Touching Sight

Seeing the beautiful memorials people are placing in Sandy Hook and Newtown, you can see how communities from all locations want to show their compassion and how this tragedy is so far reaching.

I went to Sandy Hook a few this this week to view the memorials and photograph the event so individuals who could not travel there could get a glimpse of the magnitude of tributes coming from far and wide.  What I observed was touching and beautiful. 

Even though vehicle traffic was high and many people were walking around, including media, everyone was respectful and friendly.  Many people are seen carrying flowers and teddy bears to place them at one of the many growing memorials and to pay their respects. At the same time people were of course deeply saddened and shocked by what happened last Friday.  There were similar reactions from many, they shook their heads in disbelief.  As soon as you see how large the memorials have grown, the depth of feeling in this situation is visually right in front of you.  You soon see how the world wants to show its compassion.

As you enter Newtown, if you pass the famous large flagpole on Route 25 at the top of Church Hill Road, you will see the American flag at half mast, a rare sight, and we hope we never have to see it that way again, for any reason.  Continuing the drive down Church Hill Road you will see various memorials on private property and also signs attached to fences along the roadside and bridges.  Twenty six angels on the left, twenty six miniature Christmas trees on the right, and more sentiments along the way. 

The center of Sandy Hook is where the large town tree is decorated and it quickly turned into a memorial.  There are hundreds, perhaps by now a few thousand,  items left under that big tree.  Someone made numerous white origami decorations and hung them from the bottom of the tree, reminding one of weeping willow tree branches or bird's wings.  Just beautiful. 

Countless candles burn in front of the tree on the sidewalk. On one recent drizzly, rainy day these were being re-lit by young men from Stratford Ct, because the rain had put the flame out.   The young man lighting the candles told me they do this in shifts, making sure the candles stay lit, just because they want to do that.  The second shift was getting coffee just then, he said.

Various signs were placed among the items as well as tacked to poles and fences and on sandwich boards in front of businesses.  Messages such as "Pray for our victims, town and country" and "Do not be overcome by life but overcome evil with good" and "Together we are strong."

You could not miss the flag with all the victims' names tacked to it, further up the street.  It too was surrounded by items people had left.  They used a poster that normally memorializes soldiers of war but replaced the words "This flag is to honor those killed in (location of war) with "Sandy Hook Elementary School" for the location.

People also came to Sandy Hook to bring comfort to other people.  A group of women were there with their golden retrievers, lead by Ann Marie Cioffi,  She said they were not part of any group, they all just loved that breed of dog and decided to come to Sandy Hook so the dogs could bring pleasure to others.

There is another group in town that are official therapy dogs, also retrievers, from the Canine Comfort Dog Ministry.  They go wherever there is a need, to spread love.  Each dog has a name labeled on the back the vest they wear, to make the interaction even more personal between a dog and person.  I saw how these dogs bring peace to an ongoing grieving situation.

I also met a woman who decided to bring her two chocolate labrador retrievers with her and was enjoying the interaction with others, that friendly dogs bring, as she had the same aim of bringing comfort.

A photographer from Pittsburg Pa. drove to Sandy Hook to deliver a unique memorial he created. It was two bouquets of white rosebuds with a poem he wrote.  He tacked the two bouquets and two copies of the poem onto two separate poles. The flowers looked real but were made of wood, upon which he then placed a portrait of 5 children and 4 adults individually on each, of the victims.  He said all the names were not released at the time he made the art, so he plans on adding the other portraits/flowers soon.  He preferred not to give his name, although he did not mind being photographed.  He said he applied the portraits using a finger nail decorating kit he had ordered. 

I noticed two women and a young girl because they were holding the most unusual dark pink miniature bouquet of roses.  They were walking around trying to decide where to place the pretty flowers they had brought.  I later saw them kneeling in front of framed art someone else had made, artwork was a heart made out of child's handprints that read, "We Won't Forget You Sandy Hook Elementary." They placed each rose down gently as they said the name of each victim.  They then bowed their heads, and when they were done they hugged.  Another two women meticulously arranged candles to form a heart shape, near the big tree.

I walked up the hill to the Sandy Hook School entrance where the largest memorial was. Twenty-six decorated trees lined the road, placed there by the Newtown Fire Department.  There is a star on each tree with a victim's name, and numerous stuffed teddy bears, flowers, photos, hearts, ornaments and other items.  The mood is somber and people stand in silence to honor those lost. 

A man stood by one tree holding a box of miniature poinsettias. He was following another man as the second man took a plant from the box and gently placed one plant under each tree. 

Many state troopers and police are still present in the town in volume, directing people and traffic and keeping things safe. 

Seeing the beautiful memorials people left there, you can see how communities from all locations want to show their compassion and how this tragedy is so far reaching.

Now funerals are happening almost daily, up the hill at St. Rose of Lima Church and other places of worship, hard to comprehend how many people were lost, and how young, and that it happened here.  

I am proud to have Newtown and Sandy Hook as neighbors to Bethel.  This community has come together in the only way they know how, with love.  Let's hope the families of the victims find peace and that this crime never happens again.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bruce December 20, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I am not sure were you get #'s / facts -- but I US Pregnancy rate since 1990 has dropped by 40% and is lower than it was in the 70's. The rate peaked around 1990. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_07.pdf
Chaiya Eitan December 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM
A wonderful write-up.
Paula Antolini December 20, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Thank you so much Chaiya. Normally I identify all the names of people I mention in my story but during this time I am trying to be as unobtrusive as possible while documenting the memorials and people there. Also please know that I am out taking photos and covering this event, so I will be posting many more photos in full, on my website when the time allows.
Chaiya Eitan December 20, 2012 at 01:58 PM
That's wonderful, Paula. I noticed that your Twitter account is not really active. Why don't you use it to post there as well? But there has to come a time when these people are left alone. I read that the children from Sandy Hook will be going to a school something like seven miles from Newtown. It will take such a long time to get back to what is considered 'normal.' Poor babies...
Chaiya Eitan December 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
A different approach to the question of 'Where was G-d?" http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/where-was-god-when-sandy-hooks-children-died/2012/12/20/
Chaiya Eitan December 21, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Thanks, Paula. Am glad to hear that....about the set up for the kids in their new school.
Paula Antolini December 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM
I just read the article from the link that you posted above, and although my article is not about religion, your article indicated that God has the power to stop bad things from happening but he just stands by and does nothing. Do you believe, or agree with, that? Did you post this because you want to start dialogue? Here is the quote from that article I am referring to: "Challenging God in the face of suffering is not blasphemous. Rather, it is deeply religious and the ultimate sign of faith. It means we believe that God controls the world, controls human fate, controls the world’s destiny, and has it in His unlimited power to make the world a happier place."
Chaiya Eitan December 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I'm not sure, Paula. This is what Rabbi Boteach wrote. But it is in our - Jewish - tradition to challenge G-d. I don't know all the examples, but there is the example of Avraham/Abraham...Abraham Pleads for Sodom - When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to ... 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? ... 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? ... He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." Maybe we don't have the faith of Avraham in order to get G-d to do what we want. Or....maybe we've been left with the results of our actions. I really don't know. But, apparently, Rabbi Boteach believes this. If you're interested, you can find him by Googling his name. I know that he's on FB. And he does have a web site.
Paula Antolini December 21, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Thank you for providing this information Chaiya.
Chaiya Eitan December 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I read an article earlier about a mother of one of the victims who said that her son came to her in a dream and told her to establish a fund to help people. I can't find it again!
Paula Antolini December 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM
If you think you saw the article on Patch, contact the Patch editor and maybe they can help you find it.
Chaiya Eitan December 21, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I found it! http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bereft-sandy-hook-mom-son-vision-article-1.1224903
Paula Antolini December 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Beautiful story, and heart wrenching at the same time.
raymond jaroszewski December 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM
There are so many people visting Sandy Hook paying respects and mourning , I went on Weds night the 19th . I spent half my time crying and the other half making photographs that i posted on the pics part of Patch. I went back today ( Christmas ) and saw a steady stream of people coming and going .
Paula Antolini December 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM
You are not alone Raymond. Tears come to my eyes each time I think of this horrific act.
Ivy January 08, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Satan rules on earth today. God is allowing these things to happen until Satan's time on this earth is up. God is not evil, he is loving and caring. In the new system of things to come there will be peace, no pain, no diseases, no suffering. We are very near the end of times. You don't have to be religious to see the writing on the wall. We must draw closer to God, closer to our families. Only God knows when the end of Satan will be. It doesn't matter what religion you are. The writing is there folks... Open your eyes!
Andrew Turkenkopf January 08, 2013 at 12:23 AM
I still say space aliens with nanobots.
Walt January 08, 2013 at 12:47 AM
People with scary beliefs in imaginary beings scare me too. There isn't a shred of plausiblity in any of these fairy tales. Yes, you DO have to be religious to believe in any of that voodoo.
MJ January 26, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Hey Paula! I still believe in rainbows...like you! Mary ;-)
Paula Antolini January 26, 2013 at 03:31 PM
The amount of love that was shown during Newtown's darkest hour, is where the rainbow is, Mary.
MJ January 26, 2013 at 04:36 PM
That is beautiful Paula!
MJ January 27, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Hello Paula! I was thinking of you today and wanted to share with you the photos I took from my little phone camra. ;-) I thought you'd enjoy them. Please see my post: "The 20 Most Precious Pearls of SHS". I'm a newbi at all this...and don't know how to "paste & copy" online. ;-) Have a Blessed Sunday! Mary

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