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Community Vigils Planned for Friday in East Hampton, Sag Harbor

East Hampton gathering will take place by the temporary memorial of Christmas trees at 4:30 p.m.

Two community vigils are planned for Friday on the one week anniversary of the school shootings in Newtown.

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. announced that a community gathering will be held on Friday afternoon at the Hook Mill, where 26 Christmas trees were set up on Monday to remember the victims. The East Hampton Clericus will attend and provide support, he said in a statement. The public is invited to bring a candle and one tree ornament.

“As a father and grandfather the horrific acts of violence in Newtown is a painful reminder of the preciousness of life," Rickenbach said on Tuesday. "The suggestion of Kathy Byrnes to place the 26 trees at the Memorial Green is one way for the people of East Hampton to share their grief with the people of Newtown. We extend an invitation to the community to join us as we seek to overcome the pain and suffering of the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown.”

The Rev. Alison Cornish, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork, will also hold a Multi-Faith Vigil Against Assault Weapons on Friday at Marine Park in Sag Harbor at 9:30 a.m. She did not respond for comment immediately.

Meanwhile, in the 24 hours since the Christmas trees were set up as a temporary memorial to the victims of the shooting, the trees have already been quickly decorated with ornaments and ribbons.

Do you plan on attending one of the vigils? Tell us in the comments below.

Concerned December 18, 2012 at 09:49 PM
This memorial was a kind and thoughtful gesture on behalf of the East Hampton community. Chris Diamond’s gift was incredibly generous. My thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to the innocent victims, and to the families of the victims, of the Sandy Hook shooting. I understand the human need to connect with others who we feel are similar to us during a time of hardship. The victims of Sandy Hook are people who were parents, children, teachers, Americans just like us. I understand that a natural response is to feel that we must make a gesture of support and good will towards our fellow citizens who are suffering through this senseless and violent tragedy. But I can’t help that I feel that the trees missed the mark. This response is reactive, not proactive. The memorial belongs in Sandy Hook where a community desperately needs to see and feel our support, not through photographs and articles, but through more tangible gestures. Donating to the various funds that have been set up in the names of the victims, donating to the charities that assist those with mental illnesses and donations made to the local Newtown responders and hospital would have better served the purpose. Continued...
Concerned December 18, 2012 at 09:50 PM
If this awakened charity and empathy in our community then I invite everyone to donate their time or their money to our local soup dinner, fire departments, hospitals, churches, East Hampton Family Service League, Moreen's Haven, meals on wheels and the many other local deserving charitable organizations and support groups in our area. As the good people in Newtown CT realized, events like this can happen anywhere. Support the charities, groups and individuals in our community who give their time and resources to uplift those who suffer and to prevent tragedies of all kinds, every day. Take the money that you are planning on spending on ornaments and trappings for these trees and give those dollars where they will make the most difference. Unfortunately the events in Sandy Hook transpired, but let’s not let this be a misplaced lesson for our community. Whether we like it or not this event has created a sympathetic momentum. Let’s support those in our community that suffer everyday and who can use our help now. Not before it’s too late. Do not forget Sandy Hook. Do not forget the victims. But please do not forget the real differences you can make within our community, today and everyday...
Judy Tarr December 19, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Thank you for your very thoughtful, intelligent, and loving response...It is a time to reach out to all people. There is no evil "out there". Time to grow up and take ownership.
Barbara Borsack December 19, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I don't think these things are mutually exclusive. I spent $6.50 on ornaments and think the symbolism of support helps our community connect with another small community not unlike our own. It honors the victims to know their names and it gives comfort to their families to know people around the country care. I think I can make this small gesture and still support local community organizations both with my time and money, which I do. It does not have to be one or the other - both are important. We can be reactive and proactive by coming together as a community to grieve as well as to support Sandy Hook in more concrete ways. Why not?
Mo Neill December 19, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Sending Xmass angels or stuffed teddy bears made in China to Newtown residents is hardly a consolation for the grieving of inconsolable loss. Yet people feel impelled to do something, esp to stop the slaughter to satiate the greed of a few gun manufacturers. It's quite fine, IMO, to have witness here against the horrific gun violence & psychotic inability to empathize with a suffering nation or to feel any remorse or responsibility by these greedy gun manufacturers raking in ever record profits from their instruments solely designed & made to inflict damage or for blood sport. If Adam Lanzo is obviously psychotic for his lack of empathy to inflict hideous damage and pain, then even worse is the gun manufacturer & his highly subsidized front groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America, among other gun nut front groups. Being charitable is indeed admirable, but to assure safety & protection for our neighbors is a duty & requirement to our commonweal. The public safety must prevail over profits or charitable acts.
pat December 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I think the memorials are touching and thoughtful, and would do nothing to diminish the efforts of those participating. But I do hope that among the efforts are letters to their representatives urging a ban on assault weapons, real background checks at gun shows, bans on extended ammunition magazines, and support for community mental health outreach. Otherwise, the memorial trees are just mulch, and the teddy bears just useless pieces of cloth. Enough with some of the "feelgood," get busy.
Debra Brodie Foster December 19, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I agree with Barbara. Memorials are held to remember those we have lost and honor their lives.These gatherings also help the community to come together as part of an important grieving process. I would expect nothing less of East Hampton.
S.B. Bonacker December 19, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I went by this morning to see the trees and thought they were beautiful, and expressed sympathy in a very tasteful way. It's a way for everyone in our town to come together and share the heartbreak. Especially touching were some of the ornaments that had little notes on them, one said to the children "there will be changes, we promise". We have to live up to that promise, in their memory. That promise should be tighter restrictions on guns, and awareness of the mentally ill and how very dangerous they can be to a community if left unmonitored and untreated.
MARTIN DREW December 19, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Mo - why is believing in the constitution & our right to bear arms ; make us gun nuts ? You liberals always calling people names ... I believe that in 1776 we had to kill people to achieve our freedom from England .. We're they gun nuts or Heros ? They opposed that government with force; deadly force . As will true AMERICANS ; when this dictatorship in the making tries to take our liberties ... A civil war is in the making ? We all feel terrible that children lost THIER lives ..taken by a sick mental midget... But to use this event a a catalyst for taking away our liberties .. No way it will succeed .. Unfortunate events happen all the time .. It's fate ... We can't control EVERYTHING & EVERYONE .. We can only remain alert and ready to DEFEND ourselves from outside influences that will try to harm us .. Domestic and foreign threats ... Unarmed citizens .. Didn't the Nazis use that strategy? It's sad that innocent children died .. The news reports a agenda by shooter that is sick and twisted about his mom that school and his revenge plot ... It's TERRIBLE !! But my liberties will not be taken away ! Our town has taken away liberties( right Deb) from its citizens with no real fight ; but this is one that will stir the nation of true AMERICANS who will defend the constitution as we know and believe in its words. .. It's a nice gesture of support ; try supporting local kids who have THIER lives to live. Nuts no ; PATRIOTS YES .. Martin Drew

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