RYE N.Y. – Hundreds from the Rye community braved the rain on Sunday night to show their support and sympathy at a candlelight vigil on the Village Green for the victims of Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn .
Mayor Douglas French conducted the vigil from the steps of City Hall, where he read the names of the 26 victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, and led a moment of silence.
Standing alongside the mayor were several local religious leaders, including the Rev. Canon Susan Harriss from Christ’s Church, Rabbi Daniel Gropper from Community Synagogue, the Rev. Craig Higgins from Trinity Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Dan Love from Rye Presbyterian Church, all of whom led the assembly in prayer.
“A piece of us was lost on Friday when we all got the news, and when we look at the pictures and see that it’s a small town like Rye, I think that everybody around town felt that we had to do something collectively to come together” said French. “Everybody just feels a tremendous loss for the people in Newtown, and we want to be here for them.”
Craig Chapman, associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian, said after the vigil “Our hearts are broken. We can’t imagine this unimaginable act.” Echoing French’s statement, he added “It touches us because this community where this is happening seems so much like our own…we wish there was something we could do, more than pray for them.”
After the vigil, community members filed into the City Hall lobby, where they wrote their condolences on an oversized canvas, which will be sent to Newtown.
Eleanor Militana, an employee at the City Manager’s Office, also described her emotions after Friday. “I’m a mother of three, but even if you didn’t have children, I think people were just so saddened by the innocent loss of life.”
As for the remarkable speed with which the vigil was planned, Militana added “we actually sent emails back and forth last night, just all coming together thinking we need to do something to come together as a community, and to show our support for Newtown, Conn.”