Snowmen stand for Newtown's victims
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From left, Jessica Dimas; her daughter, Jayden; and family friend Ellen Butler pose with a tribute of 26 snowmen built to recognize the victims of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Dan Lassiter/Gazette photo.
The snowmen stand in long frozen lines. They're posed like choirs in public parks or grouped in backyards with snow-covered holiday lights.
They're symbols of childhood fun serving as a reminder of a once unimaginable schoolroom tragedy in Newton, Conn.
Snowmen memorials to the six adults and 20 children who died in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are popping up in area neighborhoods and around the state.
The snowmen, standing sentinel-like on a wintry landscape, are just part of a succession of memorials, ranging from candles, balloons and masses of stuffed animals, that have been set up across the county since the Dec. 14 shooting.
Jessica Dimas of Afton thought of the children when shoveling after last month's mid-December snowstorm, and started the snowball rolling in the Madison Street yard of her Rock County home. She got her daughter, a friend and a neighbor to help create all 27 snowmen, including one for the shooter's mother, who was killed in her own home. Read the story that ran in the Janesville Gazette.
Sophie Mayer, a student at Lakeview Elementary School in Whitewater, set up six large snowmen and 20 smaller ones along Indian Mound Parkway in Whitewater, surprising her parents, according to a story in the Whitewater Banner.
And over in Sparta, a chorus of snow angels, complete with golden tinsel wings and halos, are clustered in Blyton Park, where messages of condolence are left on a nearby fence. The grouping was created by parents who wanted to do something to remember victims. At night, the scene is lighted by candles. (See a video on the 'snow choir' on Walworth County Today's website.)
The snowmen will stay there until they melt.
Memories of the tragedy will take much longer to erase.
United Way has set up a Sandy Hook School Support Fund to help provide support and resources to victims' families and those affected by the tragedy.