In the frigid December air of Newtown, Conn., families and neighbors huddled together Friday evening to commemorate the one-week anniversary of the school shooting that left 20 children and six faculty members of Sandy Hook Elementary School dead.
The vigil, which drew roughly 2,500 people, included speeches from Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra, Newtown Congregational Church Reverend Matthew Crebin and other residents. It was organized by Newtown community members and was originally expected to draw about 100 people. Organizers said the high turnout was a sign of the strength of the Newtown community.
“It has been a week, and our hearts remain broken,” Reverend Crebin told those who gathered at the vigil. “Broken for the lives lost and the dreams shattered.”
During the vigil, the crowd held lit candles and sang “Amazing Grace,” and a Newtown resident read a poem before “Silent Night” played over speakers. The vigil came after a moment of silence was observed across Connecticut at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, the same time the shooting at Sandy Hook began just one week ago.
From the steps of Edmond Town Hall on Newtown’s Main Street, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, buffeted by fierce wind and rain, stood next to Newtown community members as the bells of Trinity Episcopal Church rang 27 times, once for each of the students and faculty killed. After the silence, Malloy did not give a speech.
As the residents of Newtown near the end of burying their dead, the memorials to those who lost their lives continue to grow with candles, teddy bears and notes of remembrance.