The bright holiday lights of the Christmas season did not shine for 27 minutes in Oak Lawn, Illinois starting at seven o’clock on December 27, 2012. All over the city, residents unplugged their Christmas tree lights and other lawn decorations. Block after block of darkness wrapped the city with a sober tone. Couples, families and individuals stepped quietly to the park in the Heart of Oak Lawn for a memorial service to remember the twenty-seven persons from Sandy Hook whose lives were taken two weeks before.
As the music filled the air with the first song, “In the Arms of Angels”, many wept openly. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” provided focus as each person shared their lit candle in the darkness. Then the Mayor spoke about the loss of a child from the perspective of a parent. A priest shared assuring words from Scripture. A reading of the poem, “Eleven Days Before Christmas” brought more tears from the audience. Children from the assembled group gathered to launch twenty-seven lanterns into the deep velvet sky. The lights from those lanterns shone brilliantly against the black starry background. A sense of comfort settled on the crowd who slowly made their way back to their homes with prayers for the eventual healing of the city of Newtown, CT.