Newtown community asks for privacy 1 year after school shooting - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newtown community asks for privacy 1 year after Sandy Hook School shooting

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NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -

The emotional one-year anniversary is nearing for one of the worst shootings in American history.

During two news conferences Monday afternoon, Newtown officials and families of the victims made it clear they are trying to remember that day in privacy.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Dec. 14 ripped Newtown apart, but on Monday the victims' families wanted to thank those who helped them through those tough times.

"Since that day we have been inundated with kindness, love, prayers, generosity from the entire world," said Krista Rekos, who is the mother of one of the victims, Jessica.

The families together created a website, MySandyHookFamily.org, to share their progress and connect people who want to help.

"We hope some small measure of good may be returned to the world," said JoAnn Bacon, who is the mother of one of the victims, Charlotte Bacon.

Many families plan to leave Newtown on the one-year mark. However, they will light candles in memory of the ones they lost on the evening before the anniversary. The lighting of candles is to remember the last night they spent together.

"We know many people across the country will be thinking about our children and educators so tragically taken from us and wondering how to help," said JoAnn Bacon.

Newtown town leaders said they wanted to answer questions on the recovery on Monday. Plans for the new school were expected by early next year. A permanent memorial will not be built at the school, but it may be near it. A team is working on ideas.

Interim School Superintendent John R. Reed said the one-year mark will be about trying to stick to the routine.

"One of the major support components of our staff is each other," Reed said. 

Schools have been using federal money to help make mental health experts available long-term for at least several years.

"I'm sure there will be some people who don't come to school that day," Reed said. "We are expecting a majority of our students."

Newtown police plan to have a huge presence in town through the weekend. Neighboring towns will be assisting them.

Newtown police Chief Mike Kehoe said his men and women who responded that day are staying strong. One officer remains on long-term medical leave because of post traumatic stress disorder.

"I think we're showing a resiliency that I expected from an agency, a law enforcement agency," Kehoe said. "Yet we know, we have a long road to go."

First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra said the healing is happening differently for each person, but the town as a whole has shown impeccable courage.  

"I've always known there's a specialness about a country that can rally around and face that most horrible thing and still be able to look at each other and say, 'I'm choosing to not let this destroy me,'" Llodra said. "I'm choosing to move forward in the best possible way."

One of the town's religious leaders compared the recovery to a song about the community being cracked, but the cracks are letting the light in.

"We've been through a devastating experience in the midst of those cracks - that brokenness there's a light shining through, the kindness of friends and neighbors through families doing amazing things," said Matt Crebin, who is the senior minister for the Newtown Congregational church and coordinator of the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association.

Many churches are scheduled to hold special services, including opening their doors, so people have a place to go to talk.

As the one year anniversary approaches, Eyewitness News has already made the decision to respect those wishes and stay out of Newtown on Dec. 14.

For more information about MySandyHookFamily.org, click here.

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