GREENWICH, Conn. – More than 200 people in the Greenwich High School auditorium paid their respects to the victims of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown during a vigil led by town officials and clergy Tuesday evening.
First Selectman Peter Tesei began the solemn 45-minute ceremony, sharing with the audience the emotions he has felt over the past few days.
“I have a great deal of anger as to what’s transpired,” he said. “Something went wrong. But I hope that one of the things that comes out of this is that we work collectively on nonpolitical lines to adequately address what the issues are.”
Tesei also praised the response from the town, singling out the Greenwich Police and Fire Departments for fundraising efforts, Western Middle School for collecting school supplies and middle school students Molly Spaeth and Julia Hryckwian for starting an initiative to write letters of support to Newtown .
Tesei avoided delving into politics in his remarks, but he said something must be done.
“If we sit back and do nothing, we have failed those precious young children and those six adults,” he said.
Clergy members from several different faiths and houses of worship in Greenwich attended. Heather Wright, executive director of the Center for Hope and Renewal, led the crowd in an opening prayer.
Tracy Martineau, a kindergarten teacher at Old Greenwich School and a member of the Greenwich Symphony, sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and led the audience in a finale of “America, the Beautiful.”
Cantor Asa Fradkin of Temple Sholom sang the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, followed by an English translation by Wright.
State Rep. Livvy Floren (R-Greenwich) read the names of the victims of the tragedy while the crowd members silently held up orange glow sticks, illuminating the auditorium.
Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William McKersie spoke about the light as a metaphor for the purpose of the evening’s ceremony.
“None of us want to be here. We don’t want to think about what happened Friday morning,” he said. “So why are we here? We’re here to find a light and to find a way forward.”