Dick Smitley devoted over 20 years working for Dedham's public schools. So when he heard about the tragedy that took place in Newtown on Friday, he immediately felt heartbroken.
"Children [were] my life," he said. "And still today, I'm still having trouble grasping it. If there was some little way of giving back to the little ones and to the town,something needed to be done."
Smitley came up with the idea of hanging up angel figurines on the Christmas tree in Dedham Square. He wanted to hang 26 of them, each representing the life that was lost.
"Those children were like little angels," Smitley said. "All children are little angels."
Smitley approached his friend Chuck DelloIacono to implement the plan and then approached the Board of Selectmen to gain approval.
"This is why I love Dedham," DelloIacono said. "With such a tragedy, all families can come together."
Selectman Paul Reynolds spoke to those who gathered around the tree and felt that it was also hard for him to believe how the tragedy in Newtown can happen.
"What you end up with is that it doesn't make sense," he said. "Here we are with the reports coming in and it continues not to make sense. So in slew of things, to have this kind of symbol for everyone getting together is important."
Representative Paul McMurtry expressed the need for action. He felt that something needed to be done in order to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.
"The world is never going to know their potential, so we mourn them and cry for them and we unite as a community to do everything possible to give teachers the resources they need, strengthen our gun laws and better understand mental illness," he said. "I wanna bless the families in Newtown and let us give hope to be sure that this tragedy never [happens] again."