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Newtown Comes Together For Prayer, Kindness On Sandy Hook Anniversary

Community members rang the bells Monday outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown after lighting candles in honor of those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Community members rang the bells Monday outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown after lighting candles in honor of those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

NEWTOWN, Conn. — On the third anniversary of the tragedy, the Newtown community honored the lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School by coming together Monday evening in two houses of worship.

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty lit a candle on the altar at St. Rose of Lima Church in memory of the 20 first-graders and six educators who died. Later, the church celebrated a Mass, and Trinity Church held an interfaith service.

Both services “are a reflection of the community’s commitment to come together and to heal,” Esty said outside of St. Rose of Lima.

“It’s been three years and people here heal at different rates and in different ways, and this is a chance for people to be together,” she said.

After the tragedy, many in town decided to help those around them through acts of kindness. Esty said it’s a way people can honor the children and teachers who died at the school.

“One of the ways to honor (the) lives cut short is to serve others, to make every day count, to make every moment count and to realize every life is precious and you do that by honoring other peoples’ lives and serving them,” she said.

Inside the Starbucks next door to St. Rose of Lima, several customers received gift cards. They came in a red envelope with the message “This Act of Kindness Done In Honor of” followed by the name of a person who died at Sandy Hook.

The message was followed by another note: “Spread Love and Kindness to Honor Them.”

These random acts of kindness — small gifts — from strangers to strangers are not uncommon in town.

The year after the Sandy Hook tragedy, a Sandy Hook graduate encouraged the community to perform 26 acts of kindness to honor the 26 people who died at the school, according to a report in the News Times.

A posting on a Facebook group referred to in the News Times story reflects the sentiment of many: Choose kindness, the message says.

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