National Cathedral Vigil: 'Remember, Honor and Commit'

Washington's National Cathedral hosted a vigil attended by some Newtown residents, including members of the Newtown Action Alliance.

(Patch file photo)
(Patch file photo)
Posted by Davis Dunavin (Newtown Patch Editor)

Advocates from Newtown and across the country gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Thursday for a vigil honoring those lost in the Dec. 14 shootings almost one year ago and calling for steps to end gun violence in the future.

The Newtown Action Alliance were among those in attendance, teaming with the cathedral to host the event. The group traveled by bus to the cathedral, meeting with victims of other mass shootings from across the country upon arrival.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to remember and honor all of our loved ones at such a historical and majestic location in our nation’s capital," said Newtown Action Alliance founder David Ackert in a statement.

The vigil opened with the cathedral's Bourden Bell tolling for three minutes, each minute representing ten thousand victims lost to gun violence in the last year, according to the Newtown Action Alliance. Singer-songwriter Carol King provided music.

Some Newtown faith leaders joined with cathedral leaders and clergy from other parts of the country that have seen mass shootings, including Tucson, Ariz. 

"We gather today to remember and to honor and to commit — commit ourselves to acts of justice and mercy to work toward a world where there are no more school shootings," said Rev. Mel Kawakami of the Newtown United Methodist Church. "We gather to work for a peaceful nation. We gather to say, 'no more.'"

Organizers predicted more than 1,000 would attend, but NBC News reported about 700 at the vigil, including family members of victims of the Dec. 14 shooting. Glenn Rousseau, father of teacher Lauren Rousseau, joined family members of those lost in shootings in Aurora, Colo. and San Diego, according to ABC News.

"We gather to work for a peaceful nation," Rousseau said. "We gather to say, 'no more.'"

In a statement released prior to the vigil, pastor and PICO Lifelines to Healing director Michael McBride said he felt "called to seek the peace of the city, to love our neighbor and to cherish human dignity."

"Nothing any of us can do will bring back the victims lost last year or the thousands of lives lost since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School," he said. "But we pause today to remember them, to renew our prayer for peace and healing, and to refocus ourselves on our moral mandate to protect all in our care."

The cathedral has previously hosted vigils honoring Newtown, including ringing their bells in memory one week after the shooting and a vigil at the six-month anniversary.

The Newtown Action Alliance streamed the vigil on their websitealong with a video tribute to the victims of the shooting.


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