Hol­i­day spirit pushes through

Res­i­dents muster up some Christ­mas cheer amid sor­row.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By Christo­pher Sul­li­van

NEW­TOWN, CONN. — Bells and lights and gifts: Th­ese have al­ways shown us it’s Christ­mas­time. But this year, in this town, the bells toll in mourn­ing. The bright­est lights glare from TV satel­lite trucks. And gifts? Some around town sug­gest that presents and other rit­u­als really ought to be put off in this joy­less sea­son.

Could any­one imag­ine cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas un­der the pall that has spread here since the hor­ror at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School?

The an­swer, some­how, is yes. The spirit of Christ­mas has pushed through, even here, where peo­ple are see­ing lights and hear­ing bells in ways they never had be­fore, and re­mind­ing them­selves which gifts are truly most pre­cious.

The out­pour­ing of car­ing that fol­lowed the tragedy has been an es­pe­cially trea­sured gift. The weekly New­town Bee’s spe­cial edi­tion on the shoot­ings gave two full pages to sym­pa­thetic, prayer­ful notes from across the U.S., from Bri­tain, South Africa and many other places, in­clud­ing Nor­way, which lost 77 in­no­cents in a mas­sacre last year.

Mike Zi­linek, a 72-yearold re­tired deputy fire mar­shal who has lived in New­town since 1946, choked up ac­knowl­edg­ing the grief that “still comes in waves.” None­the­less, he can’t wait for his sons and their fam­i­lies to ar­rive for Christ­mas.

“We’re not giv­ing up,” he said. “We have to con­tinue on.”

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