NEWTOWN, Conn. —
The refrain was repeated time and again. “We are just in shock and we are so saddened by all of this.”
This time it was Bob Joseph, a former football coach in Newtown, who uttered those words as he strolled around the quaint downtown business district with his wife Pat. Cheery Christmas decorations painted a conflicting picture of a community gripped by grief.
“Can I ask you a question?” a reporter asked one woman who was kneeling to pray at a makeshift shrine.
“Sure, if I can ask one first,” she said. “Do you know any of these victims or any of their families?”
The reporter shook his head no.
“Well, I do,” she said. “We all do who live here. We are broken. We are grieving. And as much as we appreciate the media letting people know how much we are grieving, right now we don’t care who is in the town or who is coming to our town. We just care about those children and adults who will be forever known to us as heroes.”
A block away, hundreds of people gathered and held hands and hugged.
“Everybody knows somebody in this town,” resident Lori Lopez said. “I came to pay my respects and all I can say is we are in shock, and we are hurting. I agree with saying we are broken.”
Two miles up the road, an overflow crowd spilled out of church services at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, with its now familiar white-pillared portico, that has become an iconic location for the community in the past few days. Some parishioners stood outside, forming a barrier to the media.
“We understand that you all are here,” one man said. “But please understand and be aware of why we as our town are all here as well.”
One man inside the Blue Colony Diner may have summed up the eerie feeling in Newtown. “We had evil strike us. It continues to hold onto every one of us,” he said. “We will fight together and stand together, and we will have love free us."
Details for this strory were provided by The Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa.