NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Newtown is planning to mark one year since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre with private memorial services and the ringing of bells for the victims.
Connecticut’s governor has asked for houses of worship around the state Saturday to ring their bells 26 times — once for each of the 20 children and six educators gunned down inside the school on Dec. 14, 2012. Vigils were planned elsewhere in the country, and President Barack Obama and the first lady planned to observe a moment of silence at the White House.
Newtown officials have called for privacy and asked town residents to honor the victims through acts of service and kindness. At a joint appearance during the week in Newtown, some of the victims’ families urged people to find ways to give back to their own communities.
“In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world,” JoAnn Bacon, whose 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was killed at Sandy Hook.
The town had no formal events planned for Saturday, and officials have discouraged the news media from coming to Newtown.
“We are trying to respect the world’s interest in us, but we also have a real need in our community to gain a foothold,” First Selectman Pat Llodra said.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to the school where he carried out his rampage. He killed himself as police arrived.
At Saint Rose of Lima, the Roman Catholic church that hosted the funerals of eight children, a service will include the dedication of a memorial arch and the ringing of peace bells that also were rung at Virginia Tech after the mass shooting there in 2007 and in New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.