Parents, kids, educators attend impromptu vigils

December 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Hundreds packed a Catholic Church Friday night in Newtown, Connecticut to remember the victims of the shooting. The church was filled to capacity and hundreds more stood outside to pray and mourn.

Impromptu vigils have popped up all over the country, including one in Mill Valley where about 20 people showed up to remember the victims.

On the front steps of City Hall in Walnut Creek two dozen people came together for a few moments to honor those who died in Connecticut and seek some comfort in the face of such tragedy.

The local candlelight vigil, like so many across the country, came together within just a few hours. Organizer Ashley Montgomery was compelled to do something after watching news reports from Connecticut throughout the day.

"Something like this, our hearts are broken, but when we come together like this it just shows our spirit's aren't broken," said Ashley Montgomery, a vigil organizer.

Among those in this crowd were elementary school aged students. One boy's mother tells me she had a conversation about the shooting in Connecticut when she picked him up from school.

"I thought it was important for him to know what happened. Usually I try to shield him from events, but I think this was too close," said Lydia Avramenko, a parent.

Another mother tells me she also talked with her kids in hopes of having them understand what families in Connecticut are going through.

"I can only imagine being the parent going to the school hoping that it wasn't my child in that classroom but at the same time, if it wasn't, then you're horrified by the fact that it was my daughter's best friend in that classroom," said Debbie Zuniga, a parent.

Bill Miller is the headmaster of the Seven Hills School -- an independent school in Walnut Creek. He says the day was difficult for his staff, especially as new details were learned about the school shooting.

"I talked with them today and said, 'Look, these were our children, these were our students, these were my teachers, these were our teachers, these were our colleagues that fell," said Miller.

Among the parents, children and educators who were a part of the group gathered on Friday night, there were also people who showed up who did not have any children, but they still wanted to come out and show their support.


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