SCOTIA, N.Y. – Twenty bells softly jingle as a wind blows through the once-vacant lot that neighbors the Scotia-Glenville High School.
Ron Fonda idles through the pathway created by the semi-circle of pine trees that now occupy the lot, pausing at each to read over the names starkly written in black on white rectangular signs in the upper areas of the trees. He listens to the bells that jingle on their branches.
Hundreds of residents from around the area have journeyed to Fonda's makeshift memorial, in order to pay their respects for the twenty child victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Each pine tree has its own bell and angel ornament. On every tree also hangs a sign, each with the hand-written name of one of the child victims.
"These trees represent the 20 pure, innocent little children," said Fonda of the memorial he built using donated material from the community. "Children that had no racism. No bad things about them. They were pure. They were not tainted with anything, other than love and life. And that's what this is for."
Fonda said the makeshift memorial has slowed down traffic in the area and puts Newtown's loss into perspective for the community, making the tragic event in Connecticut feel present and real.
Fonda's drive to create the memorial stemmed from his deep personal association with the holiday of Christmas, the love and tenderness he has toward his own children and the deep sadness he felt when he learned of the children killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Fonda was born on Christmas day and was deeply affected when he thought of the absence that would be wrought during this year's Christmas celebrations, by the children that had passed away.
"You never know when they're going to be gone," said Ron of the children, advocating that every parent take an extra moment to lovingly hug their own child this holiday season.
The memorial is humbling. It still brings tears to Fonda's eyes.
Niskayuna resident Stacey Bentrovato was among those who made their way out to Scotia, to stand before the trees in reflection.
She said she hoped to embrace the memory of the children killed in Newtown and to incorporate them into her heart.
"That's the only way to heal," said Bentrovato.
When flattered or praised for the creation of the memorial, Ron Fonda smiled and shook his head, declining all compliments.
"I was just the hands that put it together," he said.
Local News <a href="http://www.wten.com/category/173731/-local-news">More>></a>Local NewsMore>>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:08:32 GMT
Albany, N. Y. - Fire crews are fighting a fire at 78 Elizabeth street. Elizabeth Street and second avenue are closed as crews work at the scene. We have a crew on the scene and will have live reportsMore >>
Fire crews battled a fire on Elizabeth Street in Albany Wednesday night. More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. - Capital Gaming LLC is holding a meeting on Wednesday which is open to the public. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Giffen Memorial Elementary School on South Pearl Street to discussMore >>
A business developer held a public meeting in Albany Wednesday to pitch his idea to bring a Las Vegas-style casino to the capital city. More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. - The Albany FBI has confirmed that they were conducting law enforcement activity in the Malta area Wednesday morning. Officials say there is no further comment or information available rightMore >>
The Albany FBI has confirmed that they were conducting law enforcement activity in the Malta area Wednesday morning.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y.—The Albany County Sheriff's office is asking for the public's help in locating a missing woman from the town of Westerlo. Irina Mockute-Savyer was last seen April 15 around 11 a.m. leavingMore >>
The Albany County Sheriff's office found a woman who went missing from the town of Westerlo. More >>
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- A parade will be held for national champions Union on Thursday. The parade will begin on campus and end at city hall.Fans and residents are encouraged to line the parade route andMore >>
A parade will be held for Union College's men's hockey team on Thursday. More >>
MOREAU, N.Y. – Flooding in the Town of Moreau has many residents angry and demanding answers as to why there has been so much flooding in the area. The river level is slowly receding, but some homeownersMore >>
Flooding in the Town of Moreau has many residents angry and demanding answers as to why there has been so much flooding in the area.More >>
TROY, N.Y. - The prosecution has started its opening arguments in the Trinity Copeland trial on Wednesday. Copeland was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of her father, HarlanMore >>
The prosecution has started its opening statements in the Trinity Copeland trial on Wednesday. More >>
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Opening day of the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course was delayed after an April snow shower. Mayor Gary McCarthy was supposed to hit the golf course Wednesday for opening day, butMore >>
Opening day of the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course was delayed after an April snow shower.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y.—The search still continues for 60-year-old Wilma Trotter. The 60-year-old suffered from dementia and has been missing since early Friday morning when a cab dropped her off at a home on WashingtonMore >>
The search for a missing woman with symptoms of dementia continues. More >>
ALBANY, N.Y.—An Albany man was sentenced to seven years in State Prison on Wednesday. Kaseim Parrish, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of Aggravated Criminal Contempt. In July 2013, Parrish was orderedMore >>
ALBANY, N.Y.—An Albany man was sentenced to seven years in State Prison on Wednesday.More >>