Last Thursday, dozens of students staff and families came together from across the neighborhood to take part in an hour-long candlelight vigil in honor of the students and teachers killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The event included a moment of silence, songs and prayers for the victims.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd once Nina Coletta began reading the names of the victims, 20 of which were between the ages of 6 and 7.
“I’m sorry,” said Coletta as she began reading the names but had to pause, her eyes welling up with tears. “I’m a mother so this is so hard.”
Former East Boston High School guidance counselor, Rev. Donald Coverdale, gave an inspirational sermon on the steps of the school.
He spoke of respect for one another and showing acts of human decency and kindness each and everyday. He also sent a message to parents that love begins at home.
“Love is in the home and begins in the home and that is where a child first learns of love,” he said.
While many are still looking for answers and asking ‘why’ something like this horrible tragedy would befall on such innocent lives, Coverdale said there are no real answers but we must start respecting men, women and children.
“We I was younger in the 1960s we marched to gain respect for African Americans so they would not have to go to different schools or enter building through a different door,” he said. “In the 1970s we protested other issues of respect and decency. Today, some music, some movies, some T.V. shows are teaching disrespect—disrespect for our mother and fathers, for our sons and daughters, for women for men. We need to change this because we will never be able to respect ourselves if we are allowed to be disrespected.”
The evening, which included Eastie children as young as the victims at Sandy Hook, ended with an inspiration singing of ‘Amazing Grace’–it was sung softly, beautifully and showed that many Eastie residents are heeding Rev. Coverdale’s words of respect.