While the below-freezing temperatures may have kept some people away from the Quad-City vigil held Monday night marking the one-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, organizers said the night wasn’t about attendance.
“It was about doing this,” said Glenn Kass of the Bettendorf Rotary Club, which joined forces with the Rock Island Rotary Club to organize the event.
About 100 people attended the vigil at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, where choirs performed, the names of each of the victims of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., were read, and ministers from various faiths prayed for the victims, their families and their community.
Those who attended also signed two banners that will be sent to the Newtown Rotary Club, and money raised at the event will go to a fund created by the Newtown Rotary Club to benefit the families of the victims and the emergency personnel who responded to the scene of the Dec. 14 shooting, where 26 people, including 20 first-grade students, were killed.
Pastor Randy Willers of Salem Lutheran Church in Moline said the initial reports of the shooting seemed unreal.
“There is something insidiously wrong with the killing of innocent children,” he said.
Willers said the discussions about what can be done about the problem of school shootings has shown that there are no easy answers, but that through faith, people can find the courage to make the changes necessary to make our communities safer.
Willers said it is clear that the shootings have changed everyone.
“We have all lost our own innocence, our own understanding of what the world used to be like,” he said.
Rock Island attorney Dennis VanDerGinst said he attended Monday’s vigil to show his support for the Newtown community. He said although there probably is nothing that can relieve the pain of the victims’ families, he was hopeful that the knowledge that people around the country and around the world were thinking of them could bring some comfort.
Mike Locander of the Rock Island Rotary Club said after the vigil that the purpose was to raise awareness of the Newtown Rotary Club’s fund for the victims and to send a message to people in Newtown that people in the Quad-Cities were thinking of them.
“It was worth it,” he said.