Gautier residents tearfully remember 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier residents tearfully remember 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook

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GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

To mark the one week anniversary of 26 people murdered inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, many across the county held a moment of silence Friday morning at the time of the tragedy.

In Gautier, around 50 residents came out for a memorial service. The Gautier High School Chorus sang "Can you hear the children crying," as those listening held each other tight.

"I can't imagine them going through what they went through as they probably cried for their mom," Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said. "But you know what? Those children aren't crying anymore and I know that they are dancing around the throne with Jesus and that's the only comfort we have."

As the song ended, Mayor Fortenberry asked everyone to place their hands on the shoulders of the person standing next to them.

"This is how the children that survived this horrific tragedy was led out of the classrooms," Fortenberry said.

Then one by one, the names of the six heroes and 20 innocent children lost were read aloud by a second grader from Martin Bluff Elementary. Many shed tears including the mayor, who once ran a Christian boy's home.

"It's been real hard on me. I've raised 348 children and I have a heart for children," tears rolling down his face, Fortenberry struggled to continue, "and a love for them and just to have that little girl to read the names out."

Gautier resident Jane Martin said, "It's far away, but it seems it's very close to home. And I have grandchildren in school and soon great grandchildren."

The crowd was silent as the bell rang 26 times in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.

"It's the least we could do," Fortenberry said. "It's a cold day, but it's much colder in Connecticut as they put them little caskets in the ground, and my heart breaks for that. It breaks for that community, it breaks for those children. It's a very tragic, tragic event for our nation."

In closing, everyone bowed their heads to offer a prayer to comfort all those whose lives were forever changed one week ago.

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