Something that people might not know about Newtown is its flagpole which stands right in the center of town in the very middle of Main Street; you literally have to drive around it when you pass by. The pole was first put up in 1876 to celebrate the country’s centennial celebration. In the 136 years since, the pole has been knocked down by wind, shattered by lightning, smashed into several times by cars, and yet it has been rebuilt each and every time. In 1950 a permanent hundred foot steel pole was installed and has remained there since. The flagpole stands today as a symbol of the towns patriotism, strength, and resilience.
If you take Church Hill Road northeast from the flagpole and go about a mile you will come to the small village of Sandy Hook. It has no big big stores, no tall buildings, no major routes, it is a small out of the way country village with just a few churches, small restaurants and buildings. If you go another mile east you would come to Sandy Hook elementary school. I have traveled through Newtown many times and have never once gone past the school, the fateful place where Adam Lanza was headed the morning of December 14, 2012. His intent to kill so many young people. We don’t know exactly what set him off, we know he had worsening emotional and mental health issues.
If you drive about a mile south and west from Sandy Hook you will come to the grounds of the abandoned Fairfield Hills State Hospital. Built in 1931, it was once a large facility housing 4,000 mental patients, but today it sits empty, closed about twenty years ago. There are hundreds like it in our country which were once filled, now empty, as people decided that they were too inhumane or expensive to keep open. Where did all the people who were in these places go, and how are we dealing with the mentally ill today? Are we giving them enough attention to help them?
Losing a child is one of the most unfathomable and inconsolable experiences anyone can have, the possibility of few things scare me more in life, and yet to hear the parents of the children who were lost in Newtown shows incredible strength and resilience. Like the flagpole which has weathered so much adversity and yet still stands proudly, I believe that as a people we will figure out how to persevere. Whatever side of the argument of how to deal with this best we are on, we all want what is best for our country. If you drive to the end of the old mental facility, you will come to the Newtown Youth Academy, a beautiful new indoor sports facility dedicated to family and children sports, literally a sign of hope and a brighter future from the darkness. We have figured out the best way to move forward before, and I believe we will figure it out again. The way the people of Newtown have handled this has us already headed in the right direction.
Some Charities Devoted To Helping The Sandy Hook Families Affected
United Way Fund - United Way Fund to help Sandy Hook victims.
Newtown Rotary Fund - The Newtown Rotary Club Fund To help Newtown families.
My Sandy Hook Fund - Set up by the parents of children who survived and other local people.
Newtown Memorial Fund - Setup by a longtime Newtown resident to help out with related expenses.
Via Reutuers, the families of several victims have asked that memorial contributions be made to a variety of favorite charities, and some have set up their own family funds. Among them are: the Victoria L. Soto Memorial Fund for Education, via the Adzima Funeral Home (www.adzimafuneralhome.com); the James R. Mattioli Memorial Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470; the Dylan Hockley Memorial Fund, 34 Charter Ridge Road, Sandy Hook, CT, 06482; Chase Kowalski Scholarship Fund, c/o People’s Bank, 470 Monroe Tpke., Monroe, CT 06468.
More from Reuters Here
And lastly, a nice piece on the flagpole can be found here