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A year later, reflections from somber Newtown
A combination aerial photo shows the front of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 15, 2012 (top) and demolition work at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on November 13, 2013 (bottom). In one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, twenty children and six adult staff members were were killed by a gunman at the school on December 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif/Files (top) REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin/Files (bottom))
There's a second W.
Of course, most everyone knows that now. But on that day, even President Obama got it wrong, initially calling us "Newton." We'd been used to that. So easy to overlook that second W.
Until then, our largest claims to fame were being where Scrabble was invented and as home to a particularly grizzly domestic murder that briefly made national news in the 1980s.
Until then, the only attention anyone in the national media had paid to our now-famous Main Street, with its 100-foot flagpole planted in the center of its busiest intersection, had been a 2002 New York Times feature on our excessive devotion to Halloween.
The top email's subject line read: "school lockdown." The sender address indicated it came from Newtown Public Schools. I received it because my daughter was a sophomore at Newtown High.
The ensuing hours were a blur.
And as the connections to those involved or affected emerged, the dead weight of shock set in.
Three of the girls who died attended my younger girl's dance school.
The Danbury Hospital emergency room chief, Bill Begg, who treated some victims is a family friend, our older girls co-captained the NHS cross-country team.
As pictures of the children began appearing, I saw faces of kids I'd seen so often charging down the aisles of the Big Y supermarket in the middle of town.
It remains an unfathomable act.
But the efforts to restart our community are underway. Wednesday night we had our annual Christmas Tree lighting. Main Street was lined with hundreds of luminary candles for the first time since they sprung up everywhere after the attack. But it was festive, not mournful.
Too bad, really. Our lives would be so much better were that not so.
Dan Burns is Reuters Economics and Financial Markets Editor for the Americas. In 2012, at the time of the Sandy Hook massacre, he was U.S. General News Editor. He has lived in Newtown for 15 years.
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