COLUMBUS: The somber sound of bells tolling 26 times resounded across Ohio on Friday as the state joined the rest of the nation and Connecticut in observing the one-week mark since a massacre at an elementary school killed 20 children and six adults.
Places of worship from Cincinnati to Cleveland and beyond tolled their bells 26 times at 9:30 a.m., the time the shooting began at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14.
The Rev. Richard Burnett, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Columbus, said a tolling of the bells can be a memorial, a call to prayer or a call to action.
“I think all of those things at one level or another can speak to people in our community a week after the tragedy of the massacre,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.
The Rev. Virginia Lohmann Bauman of St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church told the newspaper that the goal was to let the people of Newtown know they’re not alone.
“We are standing in solidarity with those who weep and grieve,” she said.
As Ohio rang its bells, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy stood on the steps of Newtown’s town hall as a bell there chimed 26 times.
Malloy had asked other states to participate.
Schools across Ohio also marked the moment, including at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in Cleveland. Students, teachers and community members there walked the track around the football field for about 45 minutes to remember those killed.
In eastern Ohio, one woman is organizing an effort to make and sell green ribbons to benefit the families of the victims of the shooting.
Chelsea Lucas and a group of volunteers met this week at a church on the state line with West Virginia to assemble the ribbons, which will be sold for $1 and will go toward the United Way in Connecticut.
“I know it’s going to take years for closure and for them to be OK,” she told WTOV. “But if they know that we’re behind them, maybe it will — somewhat — help.”