Newtown's first selectman says it will not be hosting any town-wide events to mark the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Pat Llodra says the community is choosing to remember and honor the victims in ways that are ``quiet, personal and respectful.''
A gunman killed 20 children and six women inside the school on Dec. 14 before committing suicide.
Llodra suggested in a blog post on the town's website Wednesday that the tragedy could serve as a reminder for families to talk about the importance of compassionate acts. She said Newtown residents are being encouraged to use the weeks leading up to the anniversary to commit to acts of service and kindness.
She said schools, houses of worship and municipal organizations joined her in the statement.
"Newtown has received great kindness and generosity these past 10 months. We are grateful and humbled by the expressions of love and support of friends and neighbors from near and far. We ask now for patience and understanding as we approach the first anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook School. Our community is choosing to remember and honor those who lost their lives in that awful tragedy in ways that are quiet, personal, and respectful – centered on the themes of kindness, love, and service to others. We are wishing fervently that those many persons who wish us well, and the media, will allow us this time to be alone and quiet with time for personal and communal reflection.
The municipality will not be hosting any town-wide event. Our houses of worship and their clergy will offer religious and ecumenical services for congregants. The schools will honor the event in ways that are appropriate for each level of student. Our town organizations, such as Parks and Recreation, C. H. Booth Library, Edmond Town Hall, and the Senior Center will provide remembrances in ways that are appropriate and within their scope of service.
Our community is committed to creating a long-lasting and sustainable ‘good’ to honor those who lost their lives in a senseless act of violence. We cannot undo the awful happening on that day – but we can choose how we respond to it and that choice could maybe have long-lasting positive effects.
We suggest that in the weeks leading up to that date, organizations, businesses, families, faith communities, and individuals pledge an act of kindness to one another. Maybe this tragedy can serve as a reminder for all families to set aside a few minutes to talk together about the importance of compassionate acts – that those acts become the glue that binds us together in our humanity. Maybe some small amount of time can be set aside in school classrooms for appropriate and meaningful discussions about kindness and service. It is not that these things don’t already occur from time to time, but just think about the power of so many thinking the same good thoughts and acting to benefit others at the same time. There is great power in a community supporting and believing the notion that each of us can and do make a difference and that it is our compassion and genuine caring for one another that connects us not just in Newtown but as citizens of this country.
In Newtown, we are encouraging every resident, young and old, to use the weeks leading up to this anniversary, as a time to formally commit to acts of service and kindness. Perform a kindness in honor of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook School; and spend some time in reflection about how our future can be made better for all persons. We have the opportunity to continue to move toward positive change – there is no greater gift of love than to act on behalf of those whose lives were taken.
Finally, for those who choose to recognize the anniversary of this tragic event with gifts, please understand that we in Newtown have been the recipients of many gifts, beyond measure. We appreciate the kindness but know that others are deserving. We strongly encourage donors to consider needs within their own communities. For those who wish to donate money specifically to honor the children and adults who lost their lives on that tragic day, you may want to consider the many family funds dedicated to specific causes found at www.newtowncharities.org, select In Memoriam.
Our town, our schools, our houses of worship, and our municipal organizations, are joined in this statement by Newtown civic, social service, and athletic groups. Together, we believe that this statement represents the best interest of our community. Thank you in advance for respecting our wishes and our privacy."