Undeterred by the raw, cold night air, about 200 people came out Sunday evening to pay their respects -- and share their grief -- at a candlelight vigil staged in the town's Stratfield neighborhood for victims in the tragic shooting toll taken Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Denise Lynch of Fairfield said she and her family attended the vigil because they were "just feeling like we needed to do something. I wanted to go up to Newtown," she said, but thought better of it because of "all the media up there."
"You feel like you have to do something," she said. "There's not much you can do, just kind of be here with your neighbors and friends."
A sea of umbrellas filled the parking lot of the former Stratfield IGA Market as candles were lit, and while the wind fought to darken the flickering candles, the crowd remained steadfast in keeping the flames burning.
"I needed to do this," said state Rep. Kim Fawcett, who helped to organize the event, told the gathering. Even though she had formally cancelled the vigil because of the inclement weather, people showed up anyway
"I don't know how to say `Thank you' for not cancelling my cancelled event," she said.
While it was originally scheduled to run two hours, the vigil wrapped up in about 30 minutes. Those gathered listened to about 10 minutes of prayer, then joined in several choruses of "Amazing Grace."
"It's just sad," said Louis Toth of Fairfield. "I just feel for the people."
Toth lost his sister, Deborah, in a 1982 accident caused by a drunk driver when she was 15 years old. "I know a little of what those families are feeling and how grief-stricken they are," he said.
"There's nothing I can do to change the past," said Jerry Speno of Fairfield. "I only hope I can change the future."
"As much as I didn't want to come here because it's so emotional, that's just being selfish," said Cassen Brunetti of Fairfield. "All the other people that are going through this, I had to be there for them."