Ceremony marks six months since Sandy Hook - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Ceremony marks six months since Sandy Hook


For six months, Newtown has done what it can to move forward after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School while remembering and honoring the victims.

A moment of silence led by some of the family members was held Friday near the center of Newtown. 

"I ask everyone here today in joining me in 26 seconds of silence," said Carlee Soto, who is the sister of Vicki, who died protecting her students.

More than a hundred people gathered outside the old town hall and a moment of silence was held at 9:30 a.m., which is the time that 20 first-graders and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

"Six months ago today on 12/14, my older sister was brutally murdered in her first-grade class," said Carlee Soto.

The families have been grieving in different ways. Many have chosen to focus their pain into change, working on ending gun violence.

"I urge Congress to listen to the 90 percent of Americans who support universal background checks and take immediate action," said Jillian Soto, Victoria Soto's sister.

A news conference pushing tighter gun control was held Friday as part of the tribute to the six-month mark.

The Newtown Action Alliance read the thousands of names of gun crime victims. The Soto family has been fighting for new gun laws and working alongside congressional leaders.

"The country is inspired by a small town with tremendous courage - a community that has stepped up to advocate for gun violence prevention," said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty in a statement Friday.

Soto spoke out during her second trip to Washington, DC, on behalf of her late sister, who was killed while shielding her first-grade students inside her classroom at Sandy Hook.

"We wanted something to get done and for her not to die for no reason," Jillian Soto said. "At least something could come out of her death."

This week, family members returned to Capitol Hill to meet lawmakers with the hopes of changing their minds on universal background checks.

"On this six-month anniversary of the unimaginable Newtown tragedy, we must redouble our efforts to keep faith with the courageous families and community that continue to inspire us with their resolve and resilience - many who met with my colleagues and I this week to mark the anniversary by speaking truth to power," U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

Wearing green Sandy Hook shirts, families and supporters formed a ribbon of remembrance in a touching tribute outside the Capitol. They've turned to each other during the past six months but still have a long way to travel together.

"The public has grieved with Newtown families," Sen. Chris Murphy said in a statement. "It has felt pain, anger and heartache since the massacre on Dec. 14."

On Friday morning, many families were on the steps of Edmond Town Hall, much like they were just a week after the mass shooting to remember the events of that day.

"Six months since our loved ones were taken from us, since our lives were changed forever," a statement from the families with Sandy Hook Promise. "We will always remember the lives lost on that day, and remain committed, now more than ever, to turning this tragedy into transformation. On this difficult occasion, we ask that our privacy, and that of our families, to be respected."

The Soto family wanted to talk because they want to make sure the public doesn't forget as they fight for change as well.

"I think the hardest part is having to create memories without them. that is the hardest thing we will ever have to face," Jillian Soto said.

Lauren Rousseau was one of the other teachers killed that day.

"Every once in a while I walk by my daughter's picture and look at her ashes," said her father Gilles Rousseau. "I just get teary eyed."

Gilles Rousseau told Eyewitness News Friday he tries to stay positive  and knows that is what his daughter would want.

"To be out there talking about her, I think she would be proud of me to do that,"  he said.

Gilles Rousseau said making new memories without his daughter is painstaking.

"It's Father's Day in a couple day sand that makes me really sad," he said. "She's not going to be there."

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.