Under the glow of a nearby towering menorah, and to the overwhelming hum of carousel music hundreds of residents gathered at Riverside Park Friday night to pay homage to the 28 people killed in the Connecticut school shooting.
“I’m amazed everyone showed up,” said Jenny Yoakum.
She organized the event to show her 4-year-old son, Caden, that they should do something and when their hearts are hurting and stand with like-minded people.
“I didn’t know if anyone would come,” she said. “I worried that maybe it would just be the two of us, but… you know, where two or more are gathered…”
After one-by-one people offered candles, flowers and some stuffed animals to the memory of those killed, Yoakum prayed.
“Maybe they’ll feel this tonight,” she said. “Maybe we’ll never understand….but help us remember that we’re all part of humanity.”
Others slowly shared their thoughts, reminding the crowd to love one another, praying for change, for the safety of Spokane and Spokane’s youth and expressing their fear and disbelief.
Scott Leadingham stood nearby quietly praying while tears flowed from his eyes.
A reporter, Leadingham said he followed the news of the shooting throughout the day from a journalist’s perspective, but his mom works in a school and many of his friends are teachers. So he took off the reporter hat and came to the vigil, he said, to grieve and to give thanks.
“I came to pray and to take solace in the fact that everyone I love is still alive tonight,” he said.
Margo Splawn came to the vigil with five of her children. Coming, she said, was her 7-year-old son’s idea.
“I think it’s important for the kids to do something when it affects them,” she said. “It’s good to come and say a prayer for them (the children killed) and the teachers.”
Splawn added coming and honoring the victims was the Christian thing to do.
As of this morning Connecticut officials are reporting that 20 children and eight adults were killed in the Newtown shooting, making it the worst shooting at a primary school in U.S. history.
View more photos of this event on our Facebook page.