Newtown Quietly Opens Memorial to 26 Victims

Site is 'perfectly appointed' for contemplation, mother of slain 6-year-old says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2022 4:00 PM CST
Newtown Quietly Opens Memorial to 26 Victims
A memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with a sycamore tree standing at the center, opened Sunday without ceremony.   (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

A memorial to the 20 first graders and six educators killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting opened to the public Sunday, a month before the 10th anniversary of the massacre. No ceremony was planned at the site a short distance from the Connecticut school. It has become a custom in Newtown on anniversaries and other remembrances of the shooting to mark them with quiet reflection. A small but steady stream of people visited the memorial Sunday, including Kevin and Nora Smith from nearby Monroe, the AP reports. "It just takes your breath away," Nora Smith said. "It's something that you hold close to your heart because you feel so bad for these families."

Flower bouquets floated counterclockwise in the water feature, which is surrounded by a cobblestone walkway and a few benches. The new Sandy Hook School, built after the former one was torn down on the same property, can be seen through the woods now that the leaves have fallen. Some victims' relatives were given a private tour of the grounds on Saturday. Town voters approved $3.7 million for the cost of the memorial last year. Part of the cost was offset when the State Bond Commission approved providing $2.5 million for the project.

The memorial was designed as a peaceful place of contemplation. Paths with a variety of plantings lead to a water feature with a sycamore tree in the middle and the victims' names engraved on the top of a surrounding supporting wall. The water flow was engineered so floatable candles, flowers, and other objects will move toward the tree and circle around it. "I think that the memorial is so perfectly appointed in honoring and providing a place of contemplation and reflection for a day that really changed the country," said Jennifer Hubbard, whose 6-year-old daughter Catherine Violet Hubbard was killed in the attack. Nelba Marquez-Greene tweeted her thanks Saturday to those who worked on the memorial planning for years, and about her loss. Her daughter, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, 6, died on Dec. 14, 2012. "Ten years. A lifetime and a blink," she wrote.

(Read more school shootings stories.)

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