Yesterday I attended a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school, in Lewes, DE on the beach. There were a few people there when I arrived, outdoor tiki torches were set up in adjacent rows. Hanging from each was a tag with the picture, name and interests of each victim. There was a loud speaker set up, broadcasting Christmas music, and appropriate tunes for the mood of this occasion. I recognized a few faces in the crowd as people started to arrive, local politicians, and the Mayor of Lewes, DE … Jim Ford. I also finally met a Facebook friend, Debi Fenimore, she had a memorial wreath she hung with everyone’s names. A few days ago she posted just a random thought on her page …”Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something for the victims in Newton, CT?” … From that single post on Facebook in the morning, it became a reality by that afternoon witha group page, Light the Night. Debi is one of the people we helped get the word out about a donation drive she was organizing for Hurricane Sandy victims. We helped her get so much attention, we had to back off our announcements, and she had to get box trucks to haul donations. Knowing this, I did not announce the vigil on our site. I did not want these good people overrun, or overwhelmed. It was beautiful to see the power of the internet work in a positive way, for a small community, and I didn’t want it to turn into a circus. This quickly organized vigil was all done because of social media. It was acted upon, and made a reality by a great community that wanted to show they cared. A community that felt a relationship to the people in Newton, CT. The parking lot filled up quickly.
The Emcee for the event got everyone’s attention, and we had a moment of silence. Then the mayor gave a short speech, and as he read the names of each victim, their candle was lit. A young lady read the poem 11 Days Before Christmas, written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA . Another girl led the crowd singing silent night. The vigil was a very moving event, people were very sullen and silent. Lewes is much like Newton, CT, small, quaint, and tight knit. I grew up in the same type of community, no one locked their doors, everyone walked to school, and we never imagined anything like this could happen. It was unthinkable in small towns and suburbs, impossible. Sandy Hook has created quite a stir, and buzz in our nation, people are scared. The community of Lewes coming together to help strangers, and organizing this vigil, restores my faith in humanity. It is incredible to see people care for others, in a time of crisis and need. Since the elections, people have started to talk more, look at things differently, but most importantly they are “listening” to each other. Doing good for others is no longer a “fad”, it is a reality. We are in serious need of getting the value of life back into our society. How we do that has been a huge debate, we will not get into right now. I am proud of all the things my fellow Delawareans have done in the past few months to help complete strangers in their greatest moment of need. That speaks volumes to what we should do to “fix” our society’s issues. It is the “Holidays” … a time when we all feel more love and respect towards others. Maybe we just need to keep that attitude throughout the year. Saying our nation needs to be fixed, and actually doing something to help, are two different things.
This article is dedicated to those that do for others, without asking of themselves.