SALT LAKE CITY -- Thousands of miles from Newtown, Connecticut, Utahns gathered Saturday at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City to remember the 26 lives lost one year ago this morning.
“It was a shock to us that day when we were teaching,” said Summer Smith, who is a teacher at South Kearns elementary. “We didn’t how quite to take it because it was so emotional.”
The name of each victim was read aloud and a candle was lit in their memory.
“I was worried about them and it made me really sad to hear about Emilie because she’d lived in Ogden so that was really sad for me,” said Maren , who is a singer in the International Children’s Choir.
Among the 20 first graders killed was 6-year-old Emilie Parker, an Ogden native, just like Maren.
Meran and the International Children’s Choir sang a tribute song titled "Gone Before Noon."
“When I first heard the song I really wanted to cry, but I wanted to hold it all in because I was one of the oldest there,” Maren said.
The organizers come from a gun-control perspective. Sven Haynes is the director of the Salt Lake City based organization Gun Sense, a group formed after the Sandy Hook shooting.
“Bring some sense to the gun debate. To actually talk about the causes of all this gun violence, which is rampant in our society,” Haynes said.
The service ended with the song “Amazing Grace” as one by one people lit candles for loved ones lost to gun violence.
The group plans to hold the memorial every year to remember the 26 Sandy Hook victims.