Town of Walpole Holds Vigil to Show Support for Newtown, Connecticut


Walpole Dance Center puts candles in the window to support the Newtown vigil.

Dana Morrone

Walpole Dance Center puts candles in the window to support the Newtown vigil.
Walpole Dance Center puts candles in the window to support the Newtown vigil. (photo/Kristen Kuznezov)


For the past few days, the nation has been plagued with the news of  a tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Early on the morning on Friday, December 14th, a shooter entered Sandy Brook Elementary School, ending the lives 26 innocent people. In support of the victims of this disaster, The Walpole Recreation Department organized a candlelit vigil for the public to attend. Even with low temperatures and spitting rain, a large crowd of Walpole citizens huddled together outside of Blackburn Hall with candles in their hands to listen to various songs, poems, and speeches on the night of Monday, December 17.

The idea for the vigil came about after numerous community members reached out over the weekend to Recreation Department leaders, such as Josh Cole, Lauren Maycomber, and Aicha Kelley. Calls were made asking for the town to organize a way for Walpole citizens to unite and show their support for the victims of this terrible tragedy. The Recreation Department and the Police Department quickly teamed up to plan a candlelit vigil, for an opportunity for individuals to sing, read poems, hold a moment of silence, or simply share their condolences with other supporters.

By simply posting the event on the internet, word got out to Walpole citizens; a crowd of about 80 condensed into a supportive crowd; “We were thrilled…we we didn’t expect as big as crowd as we got” said Cole.

The night started out with the Recreation Department members thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting the victims, their families, and anyone affected by the incident. By the light of the symbolic candles, plenty of tears were seen on the despondent faces of Walpole denizens.

In order to reach a vast age group of expected supporters, all sorts of poems and excerpts were read to the crowd. Aicha Kelly read the classic Goodnight Moon; Chairman of the Board of Selectman, Eric Kraus, read an Artistotle quote; Chris Timson and senior Nolan Murray recited memorable poems, and guitarist Theresa Tick played some acoustic music.

Mary Reedy, a senior who attended the candlelit vigil, said “After what happened in Connecticut I think something like this was necessary so that we come all come together and give our condolences.”

Rick Stillman, Walpole Chief of Police, was among the crowd during the vigil. He was just one of numerous police officers at the event. In this time of grief, Stillman acknowledges how vital it was for the Walpole community to unite and share their thoughts. “I was very impressed [at the turnout]” he said, “it’s important for us as a community to come together and share the experience.”

“Hopefully as a country, and as a community, we can learn from it and grow and get better” said Stillman.

It was clearly evident that speakers did their best to keep a positive outlook on the situation.”This is how we heal and learn” said Cole.

Walpole was just one of innumerable towns and cities across the nation that conjugated with their distress and gloom, to show their support to the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Residents were reminded to lend a hand to their neighbors, friends, family, and acquaintances during this time of need. If this painstaking catastrophe brought any single light to us, it is the simple opportunity for us to unite as one, both emotionally and socially, strengthening our small town.