They were pianists and painters, swimmers and dancers, avid readers, brothers, and sisters. Then, in a flash of violence, their 20 bright smiles were forever wiped out in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that haunts the country to this day. Also on this chilly Friday, just 11 days before Christmas, six adults were brought down by the same gunman for refusing to give up their sacred trust to protect little ones. Seven years later, even those who have never set foot anywhere near Newtown, Connecticut, can recall pictures of the police, where a first-grade classroom turned into a battlefield. You can see the faces of his parents and a small coffin full of stuffed animals whose names are not mentioned. A new school has been built for students in a city known as the cradle of grief since the December 14, 2012 massacre, now and for decades to come. With that in mind, some survivors are pushing for changes in the country’s Supreme Court that could prevent another nightmare like theirs… succumbing to cruel lies that make fun of eternal grief. Some refused. The 12 girls, 8 boys, and 6 women who lost their futures that day will never be forgotten. In the days since losing her, here are a few things she learned about her.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Charlotte is sweet, outgoing, and energetic, her grandmother told WCCO, a CNN affiliate in Minnesota. “It’s terrible. It’s surreal. I can’t believe this could happen. The whole family is devastated and we’re all trying to come to terms with it,” said Irene Hagen. She said her granddaughter loves school and dresses. Her hair was a clump of beautiful red curls. “Terrible. Terrible. I can’t believe someone would kill an innocent child.”
Daniel Barden, 7
His family used to say that Daniel had his two missing front teeth replaced. His ‘fearless’ pursuit of happiness and life has earned him ripped jeans. “Still, as his mother said, he was ‘just so good,'” his family wrote in a statement released to the New Haven Register. Daniel played drums. He loved surfing on the beach and making s’mores over the campfire with his cousins. “He represented all that was sane and innocent in the world,” the family said.
Rachel D’Avino, 29
I may not have known it when he died, but my best friend was about to propose. He had recently asked permission from Rachel’s girlfriend’s parents and was planning to propose to her on Christmas Eve. These and other details about Rachel’s life are detailed in her obituary posted on the website of the Manson Lovettele Funeral Home in Connecticut. “Her presence and her stunning smile lit up every room she entered,” her statement said. Born in Waterbury, Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford and her master’s degree from Post University. She was completing her Ph.D. at St Joseph of Hartford College. Rachel loved karate, cooking, animals, photography, and her two younger siblings. “But her passion was her profession as a behavioral therapist working with children on the autism spectrum.
Olivia Engel, 6
Her favorite stuffed animal was a lamb. Pink and purple were her favorite colors. Olivia’s family posted a statement on her Facebook containing these details about her beloved daughter. “She was insightful for her age and had a great sense of humor. She laughed a lot and always lit up the room, including everyone around her. and designing,” her family said. Olivia attended art and dance classes and played tennis, soccer, and swimming. She was involved in Girl Scouts and musical theater. She loved school and was good at math and reading. Her family described her as “a grateful child and not greedy.” Every night, Olivia took Grace to the dinner table.