BETHEL, Conn. -- The 49 innocent lives lost in the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12 have been mourned in many places all over the world -- from large outdoor arenas in big cities and now to a little tree on a small block in the tiny town of Bethel.
Bethel resident Jen Sage-Robison and her high schooler daughter Ruby spent six hours decorating the leafless tree, which stands along Greenwood Avenue between the Toy Room and Chez Shay Hair Studio, as a tribute to the tragedy.
The mother-daughter pair, as well as some of their friends, wrapped the entire tree in bright colored yarn, attaching rainbow ribbons with safety pins as well as colored pom-poms. The rainbow color theme pays homage to the victims, who died in a gay nightclub by a lone gunman. The shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history.
"The tree has really been an eye-catcher. Many have stopped to take pictures of it in their cars and many have walked over to it and taken selfies. People are still discovering it every day," Toy Room owner Kim Ramsey said.
According to Ramsey, Robison and her daughter began decorating the tree in the late afternoon one day last week. "By the time I came back to open the store the next morning, it was done. It stopped me in my tracks. It was gorgeous," she said.
"This tragedy hits everybody close to home. We are so close to Sandy Hook and when that shooting happened it affected a lot of people in town, and because of this I think the Orlando tragedy hits close to home even if it's not nearby," Ramsey said.
Emma Fagan, a 16-year-old Bethel resident, said she was deeply affected by the tree. "The tree really added some brightness to such a dark situation. Through all the hate that this tragedy has caused, it shows how love is more beautiful and powerful."
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