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City Remembers Victims Of Sandy Hook PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 06:11

Sandra Garcia Wilson, mother of four, was at home watching the coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut and, like so many others, found watching the images was difficult.

"I know other people have said that they can't watch the news coverage anymore, but I've kept watching," Wilson said. "It's my way of mourning them. Not watching doesn't change what happened. I want to be informed.

She said some of her friends haven't told their children anything, but she feels differently. Wilson said she has talked to her children about what has happened and discussed what they would do if something similar happened at their school. She said one of her children said "hide," and she told them that one child had saved herself by pretending to be dead.

"I didn't tell my kids about this right away," Wilson said. "It''s very sad that I have to tell them about something like this at all. But I need to make them aware and if I'm honest and open with them, it's easier for them to understand." She said she also talked to her children about the young man who shot and killed children and teachers.

"I told my kids to treat everyone the same and if you see someone who is alone to say hello to them every day. I feel compassion for the gunman too. He was obviously sick."

Wilson said she wanted to do something, so at first she thought about placing green and white ribbons on the tree outside of her home. "I went online and saw that green and white were the school colors of Sandy Hook, then I contacted San Fernando City Councilmember Sylvia Ballin and asked if the city would consider placing ribbons throughout the city of San Fernando."

Ballin immediately responded and modified Wilson's request to place 26 ribbons to honor the teachers and children killed on that horrific day. "She had a great idea, but I wanted it to be very specific and significant," said Ballin. "The Police Officers Association contributed a wreath that we have placed on Brand Boulevard, and I found an American flag that we could hang to represent our unity to demonstrate how our hearts go out to those poor families."

When asked how long this city memorial will be in place, Ballin said, "I don't have a time frame. How long does a person grieve? How long does a nation grieve? I don't have a time frame."

Ballin said she expects residents will be adding their mementos to the memorial. Councilmember Jesse Avila, who joined Ballin as she placed the wreath on Brand Boulevard, said residents have reacted positively to the gesture. "I can tell you this morning, when we were setting up the ribbons, people automatically responded – especially parents," Avila said. "They noticed the colors and made the connection immediately, and were pleased. Some even said they would do this in schools, and asked if the council would acknowledge it. They thought it was a great gesture, and they also wanted to know if more acknowledgments were going to occur."

"I think for this moment, this is right for our city and our new city council," Ballin said. "I think this will also demonstrate where our heart is as this new city council. We have such love and compassion for all these families who were devastated by this. We were devastated with them."

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2012 06:18