Created on Monday, 24 December 2012 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Despite the fact that Newtown, Conn., is more then 650 miles from Bellefontaine, local residents turned out to pay their respects to the 20 children and seven adults who were killed in an assault on an elementary school just over a week ago.
FRONT PAGE PHOT: Participants in a local memorial service to recognize the 20 children and seven adults who were killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School attacks hold candles on Saturday evening. ABOVE: Participants blow bubbles and hold candles during a local memorial service Saturday to recognize the 20 children and seven adults who were killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School attacks. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)
“We decided to do something special, something nice for the victims of Newtown, Conn.,” one of the event’s organizers Christi Evans said. “Even though we are in a small town far away, we want them to know we are thinking about them.”
“In hard times our community will come together to support other people,” event coorganizer Amanda Mees said.
“I’m heartbroken,” Ms. Evans added. “As a mother of two children of my own, I definitely feel for the families and can’t imagine what they are going through. We might be miles away but the families of Newtown are in our hearts.”
Several speakers, including Megan Vogel, a West Liberty- Salem track standout who stopped to help fellow runner Arden McMath of Arlington High School cross the finish line during the 3,200-meter state finals, spoke at the tribute.
She told a tale of 6-year-old Noah Pozner who liked tacos so much he wanted to open a taco factory and preferred practicing his ninja moves to doing his homework.
But what struck her most about the youngest of the Newtown victims was hisintense ability to love, she said.
“Whenever his mom told Noah she loved him, he replied saying, ‘Not as much as I love you.’” Megan said. “Defined,
love means ‘an intense feeling of deep affection,’ except the older we get, the more complicated love seems to become.”
She went on to describe the ways children replied to what love means. Among those she selected, Megan said:
• Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
• Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas when you stop opening presents and listen.
• Love is when someone hurts you and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings.
• During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.
• If you want to learn to love better, you would start with a friend you hate.
• There are two kinds of love: Our love and God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them. “To children, love is something so simple,” Megan said.
“It’s effortless gestures that mean the world; it’s being nice to everyone even if they don’t like you.”
She like Pastor Dean Wasson of the West Mansfield Church of Christ, who offered the final prayer of the night, encouraged each of us to love as the children of Newtown, Conn., and the six teachers and administrators there who died would want us to love one another.
“A young man was confused by Satan as a lot of people are confused or are deceived into believing we are just another animal when we are created special, in the image of a great and wonderful God,” Pastor Wasson said.
“What we are doing tonight in Brown Park may seem insignificant in the overall scheme of things, the emotion at this time of year is significant. The only way to make a difference is to love one another,” the pastor said.
The service concluded with participants blowing bubbles for the children who died in the massacre and hanging Christmas bulbs from a fir tree in the park as the crowd sang Amazing Grace.