Local residents honor victims, families of Newtown tragedy

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Fri., Dec. 21, 2012
(L-r) Christopher, 6, Ken Willay and Cayden, 3, hold their candles at the Griswold vigil for the Newtown shooting victims. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
(L-r) Christopher, 6, Ken Willay and Cayden, 3, hold their candles at the Griswold vigil for the Newtown shooting victims. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

A somber crowd gathered on a chilly December night at the Veterans’ Memorial Park gazebo to pay tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. Griswold Superintendent of Schools Paul Smith spoke of “20 children whose voices are silenced, but that silence is a powerful thing. That silence has brought families together; that silence has brought communities together; that silence has brought our country together. With no words at all, they have started a very important dialogue in our country. There should be no violence like this in our schools.”

Griswold First Selectman Philip Anthony recalled the December 2010 tragedy that brought Griswold together, when four local teenagers died in a car crash. He said it was important to “reach out and support each other. Let [the families in Newtown] know they do not grieve alone.” The vigil, he said, was a gesture “to let them know in Newtown, to let our state and our country know, that Griswold cares.”

Father Ted Tumicki, pastor of St. Mary Church in Jewett City, offered a prayer for the teachers “who ultimately gave their very lives in defense of their students. Let us remember that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He asked that his listeners remember, “the world will be more peaceful if we are more peaceful, the world will be less violent if we are less violent, the world will be less angry if we are less angry.”

The tragedy is “a very hard thing to understand and to feel,” said Deacon Tony Dombkowski of St. Mary Parish. He said that a group of Griswold children had just visited the parish food pantry, bringing donations of food for the town’s needy. Those young people brought to mind the children in Newtown whose lives were tragically cut short. “I will continue to pray for the rest of my life for all kids, whether they are gone or here,” he said. “They all need our help.”


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