Resident pleads for your help to preserve 'Letters to Newtown'on February 7, 2013 @ 5:31 pm (Updated: 5:58 pm - 2/7/13 )
Ever since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, over half a million cards, letters and other outpourings of condolence and grief have flooded the Newtown town hall. And now the town is struggling to figure out what to do with them.
"The hallway where they're stored now is filled with people reading stuff and quietly weeping or sometimes they have to go outside. Powerful stuff," says longtime Newtown resident Ross MacDonald. He spoke Thursday with Ron and Don about the Letters to Newtown project, a campaign to preserve the posters, banners, paintings, quilts and flags filling the town hall.
"The town of Newtown doesn't have the resources. We want to see if we can get some help preserving them," MacDonald says.
MacDonald worries many of the overwhelming offerings will ultimately end up getting thrown out. The town has already incinerated the thousands of flowers, Teddy Bears and other gifts that were part of massive public memorials, with the ashes saved for a future memorial.
He says the town is emotionally overtaxed and simply lacks the funds and space to preserve everything. But he says they are a critical reminder of what happened and how the world responded. And he says they can be a powerful reminder as lawmakers consider what to do to curb gun violence.
"I've heard people say that if there was a permanent display of these in the capitol building, if the politicians had to walk by and look at them, it would be a lot easier to get some changes made, I think. You cannot see them and not be affected."
MacDonald admits many have brought him to tears as well, especially the notes from other children like a young girl who asked Santa to make sure he delivers letters from the victims of the shooting to their parents.
"When we saw them, just letter after letter after letter, there was just some incredible stuff, some very raw emotion and we kind of looked at each other and thought 'you know what, I don't think this stuff should be destroyed.'"
MacDonald has partnered with Mother Jones magazine and Tumblr to create a blog in hopes of making a digital record of all the cards and letters. And he's asking people to send a letter or email to Newtown encouraging leaders to preserve everything.
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