Memorial to Sandy Hook Slaughter Approved


Memorial to Sandy Hook Slaughter Approved

In the run-up to the vote, some still expressed doubt that voters would approve the memorial.“One of the first questions that we tackled was, shoul

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In the run-up to the vote, some still expressed doubt that voters would approve the memorial.

“One of the first questions that we tackled was, should there even be a memorial?” the commission chairman, Daniel Krauss, said in a Facebook Live forum sponsored by the town’s newspaper. The commission reviewed other memorials to other tragedies, finding no shortage of case studies.

The group has “worked very tirelessly for seven years now,” Mr. Krauss said. “We’ve had disagreements, we’ve had difference of opinions, but at the end of the day we all stand behind the project, and believe in it.”

The final design, at $3.7 million, “does what we wanted to do at the very beginning of the project,” he said, “which was to remember and honor those who were lost at Sandy Hook school.”

The Wheelers, whose foundation, Ben’s Lighthouse, offers programs, including a free summer camp, to help children and teenagers develop empathy, self-awareness and social connection, praised the commission’s efforts to include victims’ families and the people affected by the massacre in its plans.

“They were completely transparent with everyone, certainly with us. Every time there was a design decision to be considered, they would get everybody together and get us all in a room and let us know,” Mr. Wheeler said. “At this juncture, at any rate, it feels like an example of how to do this the right way.”

The Newtown Bee newspaper made a final push for the project in an editorial a week before the vote.

“Residents need little reminder of that tragic day, but a tangible reminder to those who do not call Newtown home of how tragedy changes lives and changes communities provides enough reason to vote yes,” the column read.

Scarlett Lewis’s son Jesse Lewis died while encouraging his Sandy Hook classmates to run from the gunman. Over dinner at the Red Rooster Pub in Newtown after voting yes on the memorial Tuesday, she recalled an early public forum about the project.

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