5 years later: Local remembrance held for Sandy Hook victims

Posted at 2:44 AM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 09:16:48-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  -- Thursday marked somber anniversary out of  Newtown, Connecticut, five years since the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On that day, a 20-year-old shooter took the lives of 26 people, many of them school kids.

“We just want to get together to express our sorrow about what happened and to also to show our willingness to make sure these people are not forgotten.” says Annie Vandenberg, a volunteer for Moms Demand Action.

Speakers discussed the importance of preventing these types of tragedies.

“It affects every area of their life: emotional, physical, psychological," said Joshyln Litzenberger, a nurse practitioner with Cherry Hills Services. "It touches the person, the family, and even you and me and social workers. And it has a ripple effect."

During the vigil, people lit candles and read the names of all the victims.

The importance of mental health also came up. Speakers said there's a growing need for more mental health professionals at schools.

“Our district prides itself on providing a safe and secure environment for all of it’s students," Litzenberger. "And so working for the school district, I work to uphold those policies and procedures and reinforce them from day to day.”

The town of Newtown is planning a permanent memorial which will be set on five acres of land near the school. The memorial commission hopes it will be an inspirational setting in which to remember the victims of the tragic event.