East Hampton Honors Newtown Shooting Victims

Friday's vigil brought out more than 100 to place ornaments on memorial Christmas trees and light candles.

The rain lifted on Friday afternoon, but hearts were heavy at a vigil for the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting.

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. led the vigil under the light of the Hook Mill with its sails lit for the holiday season, just steps from a temporary memorial of 26 Christmas trees. The memorial was set up on Monday for those who lost their lives in the Newtown school, which Rickenbach reminded those who gathered is not so far away from East Hampton, just across the Long Island Sound.

Many descended on the Memorial Green with their children, some of whom first added ornaments to the already decorated Christmas trees — each has a sign with the name of the victim on it. Among the crowd were school administrators and teachers, police officers with their families, town officials, and volunteer emergency medical personnel and firefighters.

The hope for the vigil was that everyone take a moment to "pause, remember and reflect," the mayor said. "Hopefully, at the end of the service, we'll go as better individuals and all try to make the world a better place."

Members of the East Hampton Clericus offered prayers and readings from psalms. The Jewish Center of the Hamptons' Cantor Debra Stein performed a Hebrew song, while candles were lit — though the strong winds quickly extinguished most.

The Rev. Steven Howarth, of the First Presbyterian Church of Amagansett, said this time of year should be, for people of faith traditions, a time of joy. "As we turn to you, praying, for mothers and fathers whose arms will be empty this Christmas, whose hearts are broken, for students who witnessed carnage beyond anything they should ever have been exposed to, for police, EMS personnel, firefighter who responded on that day, for the trauma they experienced, intheir witnessing, for the community of Newtown, for this nation, for we have all been shook, because we have all been shook."

The mayor, members of the village board, and a member of the town board, read the names the of the 26 school shooting victims, while a bell rang for each of them from an East Hampton Fire Department firetruck parked close by.

Did you attend the vigil? Tell us why you felt it was important to be there and to bring your children. Leave a comment below.



Gail Simons December 22, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I am so very thankful that this memorial was held. It really helped me to deal with the emotions of grief that I was feeling & brought some sense of closure, possibly an ability to begin healing from such a tragic and heart wrenching event. Hanging our ornament tributes on each tree, saying our silent prayers & then having a good cry was what my soul needed. Feeling much more peaceful today than in this prior week... We chose to include our children, ages 11,11,9 & 7 as we had been frank with them about the events (leaving out terrible details), and felt that it was the proper thing for them to be a part of, in order for them to feel included as well, to understand how we all come together in times of need and how important it is to know that we can lean on each other in times of grief.
amy salle December 22, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I am glad they decided to put 26 trees instead of twenty. Unfortunately they missed the 27th tree!!!!!
MARTIN DREW December 23, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Should have been 28! Romans 3:23 "For All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others thier trespasses ; your heavenly father will also forgive You ; But if you do not forgive others their trespasses ; Neither will your father forgive your trespasses " The clergy involved should examine their beliefs before allowing (2) souls to be forgotten .. God bless the 28 souls lost in the tragedy of Sandy Hook. R.I.P In the lord Jesus Christ I believe Amen
MARTIN DREW December 23, 2012 at 01:31 AM
^^^ Martin Drew ^^^ comment above .
Gail Simons December 23, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I agree with you, Patriot. 28 souls lost. Absolutely agree. It is not ours to judge...


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