Alaska capitol and church bells toll on behalf of Sandy Hook

Paul Duran rings the Liberty Bell replica at the Alaska State Capitol in memory of the 26 children and adults who died Dec. 14 in a Connecticut school shooting. Gov. Sean Parnell, First Lady Sandy Parnell, and Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford look on. Photo by Randy Burton.

Bells across Alaska rang at 9:30 Friday morning in memory of the 26 victims who were shot to death one week ago at an elementary school in Connecticut.

The state capitol building bell was struck 26 times, and as it faded church bells throughout Juneau could be heard.

Gov.  Sean Parnell ordered the bell to be rung, as part of a  “Day of Mourning” declared by Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, who called upon all Americans to observe a moment of silence at 9:30 local time while bells tolled.

Twenty children, all six and seven years old, and six faculty members died at the hands of a gunman on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman also took his mother’s life.  Her body was found at home.

State capitol custodial supervisor Paul David Duran rang the capitol building bell. It was a cold job, with temperatures in the low teens and howling winds.

“Very proud to do it. I have a two, a four and a six year old.  I can only hope nothing like that would ever happen,” Duran said.

Gov. Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell were among the few dozen people who congregated for the capitol ceremony.

Alaska’s capitol building bell is a full-scale replica of the original Liberty Bell and was given to the Alaska territory by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1950. It is rung at the governor’s discretion.

 

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