Bringing Flowers, Stuffed Animals & Heavy Hearts, Visitors Hope To Find Solace

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — It is one of the places where so many are gathering to mourn the tragic deaths of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The memorial in the center of Newtown continues to grow by the minute with candles, flowers and people.

For many, there is just the need to be there.

“I originally came here to get my mind at ease about what was going on and just to pay my respects,” Erica Torres told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson on Monday.

Others said they came to express their grief and solidarity with the community.

“I’m a teacher myself and just couldn’t imagine what those people were going through,” said Jennifer Flemming, of Millburn. “You just could not be drawn to wanting to support the people here.”

Others said they initially didn’t want to come to the memorial, fearing it would be too much to bear.

“My husband and I thought if we came down here, it would be made real — and it is,” one woman told CBS 2’s Johnson. “When we were watching it on TV, it was like watching it somewhere else. This is real.  This is our town and this is all happening here.”

“It’s almost like a movie and you’re going to hear ‘cut’ pretty soon because it’s not real,” she said.

The memorial has become almost like a pilgrimage and a calling to strangers who need to share in the town’s unimaginable sorrow.

“I’m a dad of four children, four beautiful daughters,” one man said. “When I found out, it broke my heart. And it’s hard to sleep, I have no emotion whatsoever. I don’t know how to feel.”

Every adjective has been used to describe the shock and horror of what occurred on Friday morning.

For some, the simple act of placing a flower or stuffed animal is a small act of consolation to express a solidarity that the victims are all our children.

“As simple as lighting a candle or bringing a flower is, I just feel it will help at least in some way the victims or the families that there are…people that care,” one woman said.

Governor Dannel Malloy called Monday for a moment of silence and for churches to ring bells on Friday morning, exactly one week after the shooting.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…