Newtown Luminaries on Christmas

ASHLEY – Christmas Day at Diane Smith’s home in Ashley was merry, as family opened presents, laughing and talking.

But outside the Smith home, there was a somber memorial with luminaries for each of the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. Twenty of those victims were young children.

Smith has five children of her own and drives a school bus.

“I just thought, oh my god, if anything ever happened to the kids on my bus, I just, you know, you see their faces every day, and it hit, it hit, it hit hard because they’re just so innocent,” said Smith.

Smith’s daughter helped her write the names and light the candles on Christmas Eve.

“My mom is the best person in the world. She has a heart of gold and she would do anything for anybody. And, yesterday, she said, ‘We have to get the lights together. We have to put them outside for the kids.’ I said, ‘OK.’ “

Machelle Smith of Ashley stopped to see the memorial outside Smith’s home.

“It’s just heartbreaking what happened, and it’s just such a hard time of the year for the people. I felt like I just needed to come down for myself and take a moment of silence,” she said.

Diane Smith said having a memorial for Christmas gave her some peace.

“It felt good, and this morning, I went out and they were still lit and through the rain and the snow last night, they were still lit. It was amazing, totally amazing.”

In addition to the luminaries for the Newtown victims, there is one on Smith’s porch, too, in honor of Kevin Miller, the 5-year-old boy killed Friday night by a hit-and-run driver in Wilkes-Barre.

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