Balloons released in Springfield as tribute to Sandy Hook victims

26 people were killed in shooting at elementary school

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Teachers in Springfield will always remember the 20 children and 6 educators killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. Four years later, the teachers still feel the pain, knowing it could have been any one of them at that school in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Teachers just love their kids more and want to do even more for children to make sure we teach them in a way that we’re all aware of kids’ needs and to make sure something like this never happens again, organizer Roni Gold, a teacher in Springfield, told 22News. He said, “”The best way to cherish the future is to remember the past.”

Each year, on this solemn anniversary, the Springfield teachers walk from City Hall to the center of the Memorial Bridge. Once at the center of the bridge, they release green and white balloons as they face south toward Connecticut. The teachers said they release the balloons each year on the Memorial Bridge because the bridge spans the Connecticut River. They said they feel a closeness to their neighbors in Newtown because it’s that river that connects Massachusetts to Connecticut.

Preschooler, Eric, waved goodbye as he released his balloon with his mother, a Kindergarten teacher at the Rebecca Johnson School. “I want him to understand that teachers care for their kids and they’re here to keep them safe and it’s important that he see his teacher here doing this and remembering the past too,” said his mother, Aimee Baron.

A symbol of peace and a gesture of love from the skies of Springfield to the grieving families and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut on this solemn day.