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Utahns mourned along with the nation the deaths of 26 people, most of them children, in a devastating elementary school shooting Friday in Connecticut.
"It's hard to think of sending your kids off to school and not bringing them home," said Meredith Krannich, who organized a vigil at the Utah State Capitol. About a dozen people came together to pray, sing and share their grief under dark, drizzly skies.
"Everyone is trying to make sense of something that really is senseless," said Keith Radke, a pastor at Calvary Chapel in Salt Lake City. "People are just looking around to say, 'I'm not alone in this questioning.' "
Radke stood under the columns of the Capitol building, his voice echoing off the granite walls as he spoke words from the Bible.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," he said. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." When the psalm was done, he spoke of the families for whom "there will not be another Christmas, another birthday," with their children.
"Call somebody you love," he said. "Tell them you care."
With the fog-shrouded lights of Salt Lake City spread out beneath him, Radke led the group in a sorrowful rendition of the hymn "Amazing Grace."
Aubrey Meyer said she heard about a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., who barricaded her children in the classroom to protect them from the gunman and told them the best thing she could: That there were some bad people outside, and they had to wait until the good people came. A former preschool teacher, Meyer thought of her own students, and what she would possibly do if she were ever in that situation.
Though thousands of miles away, Meyer said she hoped the victims and their loved ones could find some comfort in vigils like the one at the Capitol.
"I just hope they know they whole country is supporting them, even a small group from Salt Lake City, Utah," Meyer said.
Krannich brought her two children, 5-year-old Dylan and 2-year-old Lauren, to the vigil, but she didn't tell them exactly what happened Friday.
"I just said, 'We're going to a gathering because some people got their hearts broken today,' " she said.