PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group of local parents honored the victims of the Connecticut school shooting tragedy at a ceremony Downtown Saturday night.

While, Newtown, Conn. is hundreds of miles away, it didn’t stop the parents from holding a special ceremony in Oakland at the Heinz Chapel to remember the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary one year ago.

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“When I first heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook, my heart just dropped because I knew not only did it impact people nationally, I knew the unfortunate journey each one of those individual families were going to have to go through,” Valerie Dixon said.

For Dixon, the struggle of losing a child is all too real. Her 22-year-old son was gunned down over a decade ago, but the pain is still fresh today.

As the names of the Newtown children were read aloud, 26 chairs sat on the altar to represent the 20 children and six adults who lost their lives.

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The tragedy prompted a national debate about gun control and what steps need to be taken.

“I myself have a license to carry a gun, and I certainly believe we have the right to bear arms, but when arms become a way of death for most Americans, we must rethink what we’re doing,” Adrienne Young said.

Toys that were donated at the event for the Tree of Hope Project will be distributed to children in the Pittsburgh area who have lost a parent to gun violence.


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