7:01 PM EST, December 18, 2012
In the midst of all the heartache, it's appropriate to praise public officials who rose to the grim occasion and have been of special comfort to the people of Newtown in their sorrow.
Public servants such as Newtown First Selectwoman E. Patricia Llodra, President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. They comforted a stricken community that was slowly coming to terms with the incalculable loss of 20 children and the six brave women who died trying to save them in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre last week.
As well, these public servants and others conveyed to the rest of the world the extraordinary pain felt by Connecticut in particularly touching and effective ways.
The popular Ms. Llodra spoke eloquently for her wounded community when she told the world that Newtown is "a strong and caring place. We will put our arms around those families and around each other. We will find a way tohealso that all our residents, young and old, will again find peace."
Mr. Obama was particularly effective in letting Newtown know it was not alone. The president wept for the nation, and in talking to the victims' families at length Sunday night, put the nation's arms around their shoulders.
Mr. Malloy was magnificent in his compassion. This is a public official one might think better suited to leading a response to a hurricane or bargaining hard on a budget or union contract. But in Newtown he took on the hardest task any human being can — telling waiting parents that their children would not be cominghome— and then tried to lift spirits with two poetic and inspirational addresses.
The list is long of local and state officials who also did heroic work coming to the aid of, comforting and advocating for the survivors and the community — including the teachers, aides and other adults who endured the assault on the elementary school and the first responders to the shooting — or facing the cameras to tell the world what they knew about the horrific event.
State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance deserves special mention. Because of the state's "one-source-of-information" philosophy, he in many ways has been Connecticut's face during the worldwide news media coverage of this terrible crime. He has come across as professional and competent, serving Connecticut well.
Public officials don't always meet our expectations. They did at Newtown.
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