Far away, near to their hearts

  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 6:45 PM
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Anna Brock, 7, looked on as her mom, Marit Brock, rang a bell 26 times Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis for each killing at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.

Photo: DAVID JOLES, Star Tribune

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More than 1,200 miles from Newtown, Conn., about 80 people gathered Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis and marked the one-year anniversary of the elementary school shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six adults.

“A year ago, mothers across America got a shattering wake up call,” said Jane Kay, the local chapter leader of Moms Demand Action. “We imagined our own children in those classrooms, and our hearts broke.”

A solitary bell rang 26 times to honor each Newtown victim as Sonia Schantz of Minneapolis and others wiped away tears.

“It’s just sad that we can’t protect them,” Schantz said, adding that she joined Moms Demand Action after the Newtown shooting, moved to speak up as a mother of two little ones.

The memorial at Westminster was one of many across the nation to honor the Newtown victims and others of gun violence.

“I know their pain, I know their anger, the hatred and the devastation these families are going through,” said Mary Johnson, the founder of From Death to Life and whose son was fatally shot in Minneapolis in 1993.

“We don’t expect to bury our children.”

Kelly Smith

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  • Following the event, many of those attending gave out hugs to several local mothers who had lost children to gun violence, including Cindy Kennedy, right, who in 2011 lost her son Quantell Braxton, 14; Angel Cradle, middle, who in 2007 lost her son Duane Tyson Sr., 34; and Mary Johnson, left, who lost her son Laramuin Byrd in 1994, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Minneapoli.

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