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Greenfield vigil honors Newtown victims

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night where 20 lanterns were launched into the air and twenty balloons were released, one for each child victim of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night where 20 lanterns were launched into the air and twenty balloons were released, one for each child victim of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night. Lanterns were launched into the air and balloons were released, one for each child killed in the Newtown, Conn. shootings.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night. Lanterns were launched into the air and balloons were released, one for each child killed in the Newtown, Conn. shootings.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Inna Komerzan lights candles at a shrine for the 20 children killed in Newtown, Conn. Friday.  There is a stuffed animal on the bench for each child.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Inna Komerzan lights candles at a shrine for the 20 children killed in Newtown, Conn. Friday. There is a stuffed animal on the bench for each child.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night where 20 lanterns were launched into the air and twenty balloons were released, one for each child victim of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>A candlelight vigil was held at Greenfield Gardens Wednesday night. Lanterns were launched into the air and balloons were released, one for each child killed in the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Inna Komerzan lights candles at a shrine for the 20 children killed in Newtown, Conn. Friday.  There is a stuffed animal on the bench for each child.

GREENFIELD — “It just occurred to me that there are presents this Christmas that aren’t going to get opened,” said Annie Timberlake, addressing a cluster of Greenfield Gardens tenants gathered to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

“The reason that we’re doing this tonight, as a parent and a grandparent I can only imagine what these parents and grandparents are going through,” said Andrea Goldman, president of the tenants’ association of Greenfield Gardens housing complex. “I know that my heart goes out to them and that the office staff, the tenants’ board, and all you tenants who came out are all sending love to these families.”

About 40 people, many children, turned out for the ceremony in front of the Greenfield Gardens Community Center on Pray Drive, releasing floating lanterns marked with the names of each of the 20 children, all between the ages of 6 and 7, and six adults killed Friday in the shooting at the Newtown, Conn. school.

“I know on Friday all of us held our children a little tighter when they came home,” Timberlake said, and asked the community to come together to find a way to protect children.

Away from the podium, Timberlake said it was hard Friday not to go to her 5-year-old son’s school just to hold him and know that he was all right when she heard the news.

Timberlake worries for her son’s safety but at the same time doesn’t like talk of arming teachers or filling the schools with armed police.

“It’s really frightening to think that my child, my 5-year-old might grow up surrounded by police and military, and as a community I think we really need to sit down and think about what to do,” Timberlake said. “I don’t have any ideas. I don’t want metal detectors in an elementary school, but at the same time I want my child to come home.”

Timberlake said she doesn’t want to but will resort to homeschooling if she has to.

Another tenant, Aida Martinez, said she is a mother of five, three of whom are school-age.

Martinez said she does feel her children are safe, the schools have locked doors and she has never been able to just walk in when she visits, but adds this isn’t likely to stop a gunman.

Martinez feels security should focus on the children, whether at school, the mall or the theater, with clearly posted emergency instructions and simple training similar to the drummed-in fire safety slogan of “stop, drop and roll.”

“It’s actually pretty poignant, a bunch of balloons representing 5-year-olds not doing what they’re supposed to do,” Timberlake said, watching the children and adults struggling to light, launch and occasionally corral the wayward hot air balloons in a strong wind. “Somehow fairly appropriate.”

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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