Driving into Newtown yesterday, I was struck by one overpowering thing: Reminders of the tragedy were everywhere. It was unrelenting.
- Makeshift signs, near the I-84 exit, and on the roadside, say things like “Pray for Newtown”.
- The Newtown flagpole, which dates back to 1876, is one of the icons in town. An imposing figure that arises in the middle of an intersection in the town center, it stands at half-mast, it’s huge flag waving gently with the breeze.
- Driving past a church stands an empty hearse, waiting for yet another burial.
- News media are camped out with their signature satellite trucks popping up.
- And traffic in a bucolic town. Now and then, the traffic breaks, but only to have a processional of police cars, or first responders going from one event to another, getting through.
- And then there are flowers and makeshift memorials are on many corners and roadsides that dot the winter landscape with unusual color.
It feels so much like my hometown in Connecticut, even though it is nearly 50 miles away. Yes, there are the shopping malls, but there are also just plenty of quiet corners with open fields next to classic New England houses.
As I noted earlier this week, my wife and I collected some gift cards for Sandy Hook elementary teachers to use for supplies for their new classrooms or whatever else they needed for their students. My sincere thanks to all who contributed. I was moved by the outpouring of support in our efforts over 48 hours.
I had the opportunity to drop the gift cards off at the Newtown Board of Education offices yesterday. Outside, it was quiet, too quiet for a place of business. Inside, there was a buzz of professionals hard at work mixed with the occasional private, touching scene. A hug to a Sandy Hook child who came for a visit. A bigger hug to the parents. The warmth was palpable yet there was also a steely resolve you could feel developing — a sense that school life must, somehow and someway, return.
Employment law will return to this blog, probably after the holidays and with some new ideas, just as those in Newtown will push forward.
But the hole in Connecticut will always remain.