Area residents gathered Sunday evening at the Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial to remember those who died Friday during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Candles were lit and several residents and city officials spoke during the vigil, which also featured music.
"It's a very sad and tragic event that happened that rocked the nation," said Mayor Aaron Montz.
PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO
Connie Maksemetz (center) puts her arm around granddaughter Taysia Greene, 6, a kindergartner at Hopewell-Loudon School, while her daughter Emily, a freshman at Hopewell-Loudon, kneels Sunday evening during the opening prayer at a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims in Newtown, Conn. The vigil was held at the Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial.
Montz told those attending to remember and honor the 26 Americans who lost their lives at the school Friday, a day so close to Christmas.
"Young children won't be there to open gifts," he said. "Also, children who won't be able to spend Christmas with their parents."
Montz said Newtown is about the same size as Tiffin and tragic events like Fridays can happen in cities of all sizes. He said residents must remember to stand united.
Tracy Elder of the Chaplain Corps also spoke Sunday and offered prayers.
"They did nothing to deserve it," Elder said of the 20 children who died. "They were taken from the world by someone whose intent was harm."
Elder told residents they should respond to the tragedy in unity and in peace.
"Let's not allow it to take over peace and our children in this community," she said.
Pastor Tress Hodkinson offered words on coping.
"I don't know how a living, breathing human being could walk into a school and take the lives from their families and from this Earth," she said.
"I know we need to grieve. We need to feel the feelings and wake up the next morning and do it again," Hodkinson said.
She said like Newtown, the local community has recently experienced events of tragedy. She suggested residents embrace their neighbors and celebrate the lives of the children and adults who died.
Residents who spoke Sunday included a couple who moved to Tiffin from Newtown, teachers, a mother who lost a child and a man whose brother lives in Newtown.
A journal signed by those in attendance Sunday, along with a donated stuffed animal, are to be mailed from Tiffin to Newtown.