Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and local officials stood on the portico of Newtown’s Edmond Town Hall on Main Street. At 9:30 a.m., the time of the shooting, they bowed their heads, and a church bell from the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church tolled a somber 26 times, once for each of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Then, no speeches, no reading of victims’ names, no posing for the scores of camera crews. Instead, everyone turned around, went back inside the building, and hugged one another.
The moment of silence was repeated at the White House and in 29 states. Workers bowed their heads in public offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In Florida, which took time out for the victims, Lake Eola’s fountain in Orlando shone in green and white lights – the colors of the elementary school. And websites ranging from AOL and Huffington Post to ESPN and Duke University all went dark at 9:30, responding to a call from webmomentofsilence.org.
In Colorado, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila asked Catholic schools and parishes to observe the moment of silence, and he asked that parishes with the capability ring their church bells 26 times.
The moment of silence in Newtown was somewhat similar to the way New York City has memorialized the victims of 9/11, with six moments of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. (when the first plane hit the World Trade Center). But there is also a reading of the victims’ names.
In Newtown, a drenching rain, along with gusty winds, did not stop residents from coming to the ceremony.
Edie Hardwick of nearby Middlebury said she came because she was hoping that “I can help somebody.”
Wearing an MIA/POW jacket, Ed Pray said he just felt he had to be there. “It was a pit-in-the-stomach kind of thing,” he says. As for the rain, he saw something good in that as well. “The rain is cleansing us,” he said.