Madison bells ring for Sandy Hook anniversary

Memorial about remembrance, healing

Published On: Dec 14 2013 06:31:05 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 15 2013 05:14:08 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Twenty-six bells rang out inside the First Unitarian Society in Madison for the 26 victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. one year ago.

A crowd of over 100 people gathered in front of 26 empty chairs on Saturday, listening to speakers talk about healing and remembrance. 

Kelly Warren attended the memorial. She said it brought the tragedy closer to home. "It's so jarring to think that this kind of violence has to happen. It could happen here in Madison, very easily. I mean, no one is immune to this," she said.

Rev. Jerry Hancock spoke at the gathering. "I think Newtown feels really close to lots of people, " he said. "We have to remember what happened, not only Sandy Hook, but how gun violence touches all of our lives."

At 1:30, a single bell rang out 26 times. 26 candles were lit in memory of the 20 students and six teachers killed inside their own school. Hancock said national tragedies often inspire people to action and provide a sense of community in grief.

"I think a tragedy like Newtown can really galvanize people's empathy. I think once that becomes engaged, people can really move to action," he said.

Action Warren hopes is taken, so the bells ringing for Newtown wouldn't be falling on deaf ears.

"It comes down to like how we want to treat each other and what kind of world we want to live in," she said.