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Kirkland community gathers to remember Sandy Hook victims during candlelight vigil | Slideshow
Ten-year-old Taylor Koegel, of Kirkland, looked up at 7-year-old Daniel Barden’s face, whose smile revealed two missing front teeth in his photo that was posted at the Marina Park in Kirkland on Sunday afternoon.
“Daniel’s family says he was ‘fearless in the pursuit of happiness in life,’” said the caption under his photo.
Barden was one of 20 first-graders who was killed in the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that also claimed the lives of six teachers and administrators in Newtown, Conn.
Nearly 60 people gathered at Marina Park to honor those victims during a candlelight vigil, where posters were hung that featured the face of each victim.
Kirkland resident Ghislaine Bernard-Hasan organized the event as a way for the community to show “our deeply-felt love and support for the families who have lost so much as they approach this holiday season - to share with them that they will not be alone on Christmas day and they will be very much in our thoughts, hearts and prayers. I only wish I could do more …,” she said.
Bernard-Hasan said she especially wanted to hold the event at the Marina, where the locally famous The Puddle Jumpers statue of kids frolicking overlooked the scene.
During the event, the Argosy Christmas Ship that sailed on Lake Washington next to the Marina, dazzled in holiday lights, blared “Hallelujah” as residents remembered each victim, looked at their photos and read about them under the Marina pavilion. They also pinned on white ribbons that were available at one of the tables.
A banner on the ground with a picture of a candle flame listed all of the victims’ names and was surrounded by small teddy bears, donated by the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle. There were also roses and white balloons in honor of each of the victims.
Bernard-Hasan gathered the group and called for a moment of silence. The Christmas Ship also turned off its music to honor the victims.
Bernard-Hasan then read all the names of the victims and led the group in singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Parents hugged their children and couples embraced as they sang:
“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.
“Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can’t I?”
Bag pipes then sounded to the group’s rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Before and after the vigil, residents also wrote messages of love and support on bricks that will soon be shipped to Sandy Hook Elementary and turned into some kind of memorial.
Kirkland resident Joene LaBou is leading this Brick by Brick effort, which includes a memorial fund set up at Key Bank that will pay for installation of the monument, brick pathway or garden patio, depending on how many bricks the effort will bring.
Annie Hines, of Bellevue, showed her support for the victims by decorating one of the bricks with the words: “The world will never forget you.”