“It takes your breath away,” Nora Smith said. “It’s something you care about because you feel so bad for these families.”
Bouquets of flowers floated counterclockwise in the water feature, which is surrounded by a paved walkway and a few benches.
The new Sandy Hook School, built after the old one on the same property was demolished, can be seen through the woods now that the leaves have fallen.
Some relatives of the victims were entitled to a private visit to the premises on Saturday.
“I think they deserve not to have the bright lights of the world on them,” said Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, the city’s top elected official.
The memorial was designed as a place of peaceful contemplation. Pathways of various plantings lead to a body of water with a sycamore tree in the middle and the names of the victims carved atop a retaining wall.
The water flow was designed to make floating candles, flowers and other objects move towards the tree and spin around it.
Like other relatives of the victims, Jennifer Hubbard viewed the memorial during a private appointment before this weekend. His daughter, Catherine Violet Hubbard, 6, was one of the children who died in the December 14, 2012 shooting.
“It took my breath away in the sense of seeing Catherine’s name and seeing what was created to honor those who lost…the families, those who survived – they lost their innocence,” said she declared. “And the community. We have all suffered because of December 14.
“I think the memorial is so perfectly appointed to honor and provide a place for contemplation and reflection on a day that truly changed the country,” she said.
Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter Ana Grace Marquez-Greene was killed, took to Twitter on Saturday to thank those who worked on planning the memorial for years.
“Ten years. A life and a blink of an eye,” she wrote. “Ana Grace, we used to wait for you to come home. Now you’re waiting for us. Wait, kid. Hold.”
City voters approved $3.7 million for the cost of the memorial last year. Part of the cost was offset when the State Bond Commission approved granting the city $2.5 million for the project.
The project faced several challenges after the city established a special commission to oversee planning for the memorial in fall 2013. Some proposed sites were rejected, including one near a hunting club where gunfire could be heard, and officials reduced the cost of the project. of $10 million for fear that voters will approve of it.