More than a hundred candles created a soft glow at Tolland High School Monday evening, as residents gathered to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Participants quietly held candles outside and extinguished them together before moving to the gymnasium to listen to speeches from religious, political and school leaders.
"When I saw the families of victims waiting for news, their faces were the faces of people right here," remarked Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who is also a Tolland resident. The elementary school massacre, she said, hit especially close to home. Two of Wyman's grandchildren are students in Tolland, she said.
"We realized that there are no words," Wyman went on. "It's just being there for people; that's all you can do."
In between speakers, there were musical interludes from the THS madrigal singers and resident Susan Lotreck. Fr. James Carini from St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church, Rev. Weston Brooks of the River of Life Christian Fellowship, Revs. Robert Wright and Judy Medeiros of the United Congregational Church of Tolland and Rev. Jeff Roman of the First Baptist Church of Tolland also lead the group in prayer.
Wright, Medeiros and Birch Grove Principal Thomas Swanson read the names of the Newtown victims. A bell was chimed after each name was read.
Town Manager Steven Werbner asked Tolland to come together and make the town a safer place.
"We must remain optimistic that good can come from tragedy and that communities can find a way to protect themselves from those who try to do us harm," he said.
The lieutenant governor led residents out of the gymnasium to release the white balloons representing the Newtown victims while the madrigal singers led the crowd in "Silent Night."
Town officials met with religious leaders to organize the vigil this weekend.
Pictures of the vigil can be found above.