Relatives of the 26 people murdered in Newtown in one of the deadliest ever US school shootings announced Monday they had set up a website to honor their loved ones.
The families are to light candles on the eve of Saturday’s first anniversary of the horrific shootings but the Connecticut town has asked the media to stay away to protect their privacy.
On December 14, 2012 20-year-old Adam Lanza took less than 11 minutes to shoot dead 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself.
“December 14, 2012 forever and unalterably changed the lives of the 26 families whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” the families said in a statement.
The website has been created to remember the victims in a way that feels right to each family, and provides a centralized and controlled point of contact for journalists and the public.
On the homepage of www.mysandyhookfamily.org are written the first names of the 26 victims in the shape of a heart. Clicking on each name, brings up a short biography of each child or adult.
“We ask that you understand that each of us — each family — is unique in our own experiences following this tragedy and we each have our own voice and perspective,” the families said.
“By creating this website, we hope to offer an opportunity to communicate with our families and honor our loved ones, while at the same time respecting each family’s individual journey and unique experiences.”
To mark the first anniversary they called on people to perform an act of kindness or to volunteer with a local charity.
“In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world,” they said in a statement.
The website allows the press and members of the public to get in touch, although it notes that “inappropriate material” will be deleted, and that families view messages at their discretion.
Last week, the voices of people who were trapped and terrified as the killer stalked the classrooms returned to haunt survivors.
After a freedom of information lawsuit, US authorities released seven recordings of emergency calls made from the school while it was under attack.
The tapes, released despite resistance from the families of some of the six-year-old victims, record calm operators warning wounded callers to take cover and try to staunch their bleeding.
The massacre was just the latest in a series of deadly shooting sprees across the country, and inspired a short-lived and so far failed drive to tighten US gun ownership rules.
The official investigation found no motive for the massacre other than conclude that Lanza was obsessed with mass murders and had significant behavorial problems.
Lanza first shot dead his mother in her bed.
He then drove to the school.
He killed the principal and school psychologist in the hallway, then entered two first-grade classrooms, killing two adults in each room, 15 children in one classroom and five in the other.
Police arrived less than four minutes after receiving an emergency call. But Lanza killed himself a minute later.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]