The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 25, 2012

Newtown observes Christmas amid mourning

NEWTOWN, CONN. — Newtown observed Christmas amid snow-covered teddy bears, stockings, flowers and candles left in memorial to the 20 children and six educators gunned down at an elementary school just 11 days before the holiday.

The outpouring of support for this community continued through Christmas Eve, with visitors arriving at town hall with offerings of cards, handmade snowflakes and sympathy.

"We know that they'll feel loved. They'll feel that somebody actually cares," said Treyvon Smalls, a 15-year-old from a few towns away who arrived bearing hundreds of cards and paper snowflakes collected from around the state.

And on Christmas Day, out-of-town police officers were on duty to give police here a break.

"It's a nice thing that they can use us this way," Ted Latiak, a police detective from Greenwich, Conn., said Christmas morning, as he and a fellow detective, each working a half-day shift, came out of a store with bagels and coffee for other officers.

At St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which eight of the child victims of the massacre attended, the pastor told parishioners Tuesday at the second of four Masses that "today is the day we begin everything all over again."

Recalling the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, the Rev. Robert Weiss said: "The moment the first responder broke through the doors we knew good always overcomes evil."

"We know Christmas in a way we never ever thought we would know it," he said. "We need a little Christmas and we've been given it."

At the Trinity Episcopal Church, an overflow crowd of several hundred people attended Christmas Eve services. They were greeted by the sounds of a children's choir echoing throughout a sanctuary hall that had its walls decorated with green wreaths adorned with red bows.

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