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Lockport remembers victims in school shooting

BY: Rikki Cason | December 30, 2012

On Saturday, Dec. 22 a candlelight vigil was held at Children’s Memorial Park to remember the victims in the Newtown, Conn. shooting.

The vigil brought many from around the community together, each wishing to send their thought and prayers to the victims and their families.

As people gathered, signs were placed leading up to the vigil, each with a picture of a victim on it.

Kathryn Kiley, who approached Mayor Michael Tucker about it after the shooting took place, organized the vigil.

During the event, several local officials and members of the community spoke about the tragedy and looking toward the future.

“Sometimes it seems like violence is routine, but I think we know it isn’t,” said Tucker. “We live in a great community in Lockport. We live in a great community where there is much more good than evil. We certainly can’t let events like these define who we are. We’re people of goodness and kindness.”

Charles Upson Principal Roberta Donovan spoke on behalf of the Lockport City School District, Board of Education and Superintendent Michelle Bradley.

She asked people to remember the children of Sandy Hook, along with local children, and continue to celebrate their lives throughout the holiday season.

“I can’t begin to tell you the emotion we educators have felt this week,” said Donovan. “Our hearts go out to the community and families of Newtown, Conn.”

A group of students from Roy B. Kelley, Charles Upson and Washington Hunt also gathered to sing a song during the vigil.

Micro Graphics created a banner that reads, ”The citizens of Lockport would like to offer their condolences and prayers to the victims and their families of Newtown, Conn. May our thoughts and our prayers help heal your broken hearts.”

After the vigil, the banner was rolled up and shipped to the mayor of Newton, to let them know “we’re praying for them as they try and put their lives back together,” Tucker said.

Lockport Police Chief Lawrence Eggert encouraged people to look into the light of hope, not the darkness that is attached to this event.

“From all the members of public safety from across the county and across the country, we offer our condolences to the families of the 26 victims of the Newtown tragedy,” he said. “We also offer our condolences to the Newtown community and our fellow first responders. You are not alone in your grief.

“By looking forward into the light of hope and with faith in each other, we keep the souls of those we have lost alive in our hearts and in our memories.”

At the end of the ceremony Kiley read the name of each victim. As she did, children attending the vigil released a white balloon for every name. Balloons were also released in memory of the Lockport children who have passed away and who are recognized at Children’s Memorial Park.

In the center of the gazebo is also a Christmas tree with red bows purchased in honor of children who have died.

This year, 26 ribbons were added to the tree, in memory of all the Sandy Hook victims.

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