December 21, 2012
During a nationwide moment of silence Friday morning, local church bells echoed in the air. Twenty-six bells tolled at the University of Virginia's chapel Friday morning, each chime honoring a life lost during last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Dr. Jared Loewenstein, the university's carillonneur, had the honor of ringing the bells. While the victims may have lived hundreds of miles away, he said the tragedy still hits close to home.
"I think it's important for the community as a whole," said Loewenstein. "I think that any community could be subject to this sort of tragedy, like the one that took place in New England, and we need to keep that in mind."
The bells at the chapel could be heard throughout grounds, thanks to speakers wired into the university's audio system.
Across the street, St. Paul's Memorial Church also rang its bells in memory of the shooting victims. The church plans to honor the 26 children and adults at its "Liturgy of the Longest Night" service Friday evening.
The service, which begins at 7:00 p.m., is especially for anyone who is grieving or may be feeling a little down during the holidays. It will feature prayer, music and candle lighting.