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Wyandotte Holds Vigil in Wake of Newtown Shooting

Sunday's candlelight vigil at BASF Waterfront Park was full of prayers, poems, songs and tears as the victims of the Newtown, CT school shooting were remembered.

As the nation struggles with Friday's deadly school shooting in Newtown, CT, the Wyandotte community had a chance to gather Sunday evening to grieve and to show its support.

A candlelight vigil consisting of prayers, poems, songs and tears was held at BASF Waterfront Park, as dozens of people expressed their sadness and honored the memory of the 26 victims.

The city of Wyandotte, along with the Women of Wyandotte, a local nonprofit organization led by City Councilwoman Sheri Sutherby-Fricke, hosted the vigil.

“Our community needed a place to grieve,” Sutherby-Fricke said. “No matter where it happened, it affects us all personally in some way. I think we all needed a place to gather (and) I think people need to be together at times like these.”

The 27,000 population of Newtown is similar in size to that of Wyandotte, putting the matter into much too close of a perspective, Sutherby-Fricke said.

Members of Wyandotte’s religious community -- Jeremy Gyorke, pastor of Wyandotte Family Church and the Rev. Michael Cremin, pastor of St. Joseph and St. Patrick Catholic Churches -- led the crowd in prayers.

Gyorke said that prayer is important when it comes to easing the emotional suffering and pain that is caused by tragedy.

“Prayer is something that supersedes human words because I really believe in all my heart God is all powerful,” Gyorke said. "He’s present in Newtown, and our prayers make a difference. There’s something special when people come together in a group and pray.” 

At one point during the vigil, Gyorke and Sutherby-Fricke took turns reading the names of every Newtown shooting victim. As each name was announced, a child in attendance released a balloon into the air, over the water of the Detroit River.

Cremin brought several people to tears as he read a popular poem that was recently written in honor of the 20 children killed Friday.

Several sources credit Cameo Smith as the poem’s author and among its lines is:

“Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate. Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air ... they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.”

Wyandotte Board of Education Vice President Chris Calvin and students Cassidy Tepfenhart and Joshua Lee also read poems.

Roosevelt High School student Sarah Noble closed the evening by singing the Traditional Irish Blessing.

Wyandotte resident Mark Lyons attended Sunday’s vigil and said he feels people should rely on each other for support when there is a tragedy like the Newtown shooting. 

“I think its important to pull together as Americans, especially at times like this, it’s when we need each other,” Lyons said. “I think people kind of sense we lost something and we have to pull together.”

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