Newtown After Obama's Visit: 'My Heart is Hurting More'

At vigils and at local establishments, residents watch alongside visitors from near and far.


"Newtown, you are not alone," President Barack Obama told the town at a Sunday night vigil at Newtown High School.

Obama spoke alongside representatives from a wide range of Newtown's religious institutions, who offered their prayers.

Vicar Rob Mossis of Christ the King Lutheran Church asked God to "heal our brokenness, to answer our questions, to replace our doubts with certainty, our anger with peace and our hurt with and healing."

Flowers and Candles in Sandy Hook

As President Obama arrived in Newtown Sunday night, the streets of Sandy Hook were packed with both media and visitors from near and far.

Passerbys dropped flowers, hand-written messages and stuffed animals among dozens of burning candles at the intersection of Church Hill Road and Washington Avenue, in front of and around a giant tree decorated for Christmas.

"I guess I'm just here to lend my support and comfort anyway I can," Camille Wallace, a Queens, NY, resident who came to Connecticut for the day. "You never really know what to do in this situation. I'm trying to talk to whoever I can, pass along a hug."

"It Hasn't Sunk In Completely Yet"

With the President offering condolences to friends and neighbors less than a mile away, patrons at The Inn at Newtown joined millions of others watching a memorial service for the victims of Friday's shooting.

One couple sat arm-in-arm throughout the service. About two dozen people watched Sunday night's memorial service on a pair of televisions.

The room was silent for much of the evening, reactions limited to one-word statements. A woman murmured "Oh my God" as the president read the first names of each child victim.

"It hasn't sunk in completely yet," said a man named Dean. (We respect the decision of several patrons to decline to give their last names.) "It comes in bits and spurts when you realize the depths of what happened."

Dean said his mother is a substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and was scheduled to teach second grade there the day of the shooting. She was moved to a different school at the last minute.

"All of her friends were wiped out," Dean said. "She's going through a period of grieving. There's a certain level of survivor's guilt."

After trying to attend the memorial service at the high school, Dean came to the bar to watch Sunday night. Although not a supporter of the president politically, Dean said he applauded at the end of the president's speech because the decision to visit Newtown was "the right thing to do."

"There was a sense of community in there,” he said. “People were listening, Americans were listening, they were listening to everything.”

"The Emptiness is Huge"

Another patron at the Inn, Jack, sat quietly at the bar. His brother lives in Sandy Hook. Jack spent the day trying to check on his brother -- "He knows somebody who lost somebody," he said -- but was held up by the traffic in the area.

"The sadness is still there," he said as the service ended. "After 9/11, I felt in shock, I felt saddened, and then I felt angry. Here, the sadness has just gotten deeper. These are young children ... I can't fathom children being killed... The sadness... My heart is hurting more."

Jack is a father -- his two children are 6 and 7.

"When I came home Friday, my own children found some styrofoam from Christmas packing and broke it all up as snow. I don't know if you know what it's like to clean up styrofoam. But we just let them go. Because of what happened. And they made the biggest mess."

And here his voice began to falter. 

"But we loved it. We loved every minute of it. But we can enjoy that. What can you say to somebody who's missing somebody? The emptiness is huge. Words can't express it. The community around here has come together. But the emptiness is going to be here for a while."

janice bush December 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Our prayers, hearts and thoughts go out to all the families for their loss at this sad time. I don't know anyone there, but my heart aches for you. I'm just sickened and can't stop thinking about this sinceless tragedy. Can't even began to understand how or why. But heaven has so many more Angeles. I pray God to give you the strenght you need at this time. I know there nothing I could say or anyone at this time, but just know so many prayers are with you. My deepest sympathy. Janice Bush
madeliene davidson December 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Gun control is fine but like drugs you will still be able to get them illegally if you really want them. Criminals will still havd them.
Linda Carter December 17, 2012 at 11:09 AM
There are no words to express the pain and anger I feel about what happened to these precious children and brave adults. My heart go's out to the families. My prayer is that God will mend every broken heart and comfort you in such a time as this. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. May the love of God strengthen you in this time of sorrow. Linda Carter
madeliene davidson December 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM
It makes me sick thinking about innocemt little angels lost. I cried all weekend. I pray for the families. I know all the children are in heaven with our lord and savior. I pray for the survivers that they will heal .
MAM December 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Anyone who wants to get a gun, can. How about starting with putting controls on assault rifles. Also, let's address the excessive violence that is on TV, movies and games. It's would be a start. Can anyone tell me why a mother would have a small arsenal in her home with a disturbed son around????? She and those beautiful children and those brave teachers paid the price for such thoughtlessness. Such sadness.....
Fairfield Old Timer December 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM
CT already has controls on assault rifles. http://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/glossary/assaultweapon.htm Try again. We should also ban ALL Knives and Cutting Tools as well: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/man-stabs-22-children-in-china.html
canaan guy December 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Ditto Fairfield Old Timer. The truth is this savage, Lanza, was a mental patient who should have been in lockup. Look at his picture, need we say any more!
Amos Waterman December 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Fairfield Old Timer, How many deaths occured in the China incident you cite? How many deaths have occured in American schools when assault weapons were used? Why? So you can blow a hole through a deer or show off to your buddy at the range? http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/12/14/22-kids-1-adult-injured-in-knife-attack-outside-chinese-school/
Fairfield Old Timer December 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Dear Amos: There were no deaths in the recent incident of violence in China but those poor little babies will be scarred for life!!!! Think of the children! We should ban ALL knives and cutting tool now!!!
just another ct mother December 18, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Fairfield Old Timer - While your sarcasm at any other time might be appreciated, being cavalier at this tragic time seems cruel. Yes Ct does have controls of assault guns but are semi automatic guns built for hunting, not unless you don't plan on eating your game. I am not against gun ownership. I am for a national data base, not individual state bases. I am for a yearly re-registration of guns, just like our cars. I am for a much longer waiting period,you wait a minimum of 30 days for a drivers license. Yes some nuts will still find a way to get a gun but if we make it harder for just one nut to be stopped ahead of time it will be worth it. Thank you
Cliff Cuming December 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Describe a law, short of repealing the Second Amendment, that would have effectively prevented this horror. This guy was mentally ill. We should reopen mental institutions to help these people and pay for it by cutting vote getting entitlements...that is, if you are seriously interested in solving the problem. Come to think of it, anyone convicted of murder should be sent to a mental institution since murder is irrational, is it not?
R. Ludlowe December 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
so what... we throw our hands in the air and do nothing? Sorry... we cant give up, again, on this. Take care of the low-hanging fruit and ban these death-tools.
Frederick Klein December 18, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Good point. We should repeal the Second Amendment since people don't bother to read the first part of it (describing the purpose of the amendment) anyway.
Sandra December 18, 2012 at 03:02 PM
absolutely ban the death tools with 30 clips but it doesn't stop the reloading of 10-15 clips if no one is there to stop them in the first 2 minutes. The loss of one child is just as devastating.
Sandra December 18, 2012 at 03:07 PM
How do you explain the crime rates in Washington D.C. and Chicago who have the toughest gun laws in the country? Why hasn't anyone addressed the problem of children in gangs killing children on Chicago streets on a DAILY basis?
mommabear December 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
so fairfield old timer, if CT has bans on assault rifles how was this mother able to have so many semi automatics in her home as MAM asks? If legally purchased as has been reported doesn't the town have an obligation to be in touch with these purchasers and making sure they are securely disenabled when locked up in the home? this town failed those young children, the killer was one of their own!! and what is our town doing? i pray they are monitoring all those with assault weapons!!!


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