By: Melissa Toupin
Like many people John Lacouture struggled to comprehend the tragedy earlier this month in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults.
For the last week he lit 26 bulbs on a flag pole in his front yard on Roosevelt Ave in Pascoag. Each one a shining tribute to the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"The feelings that those people have down in Newtown...it just doesn't leave my heart," said Lacouture.
With each funeral Lacouture tied a yellow ribbon, bearing the name and age of the victim, to a bulb.
"The families are missing something that they cherish. And now it's not there any more. It's gone," said Lacouture.
But when it came time to tie the last ribbons Lacouture knew he couldn't do it alone, and gave the honor to his fire department.
"It's kind of a healing process for all of us. Even though we weren't directly impacted it feels good," said Pascoag Fire Chief John DeFusco.
Wanting to make sure Newtown is never forgotten the Lacouture
family donated the flag pole to the Pascoag Fire Department. Sunday afternoon
it was carefully packed up and moved to the station. It now stands on the lawn out front.
The flag pole will remain at the fire house on Main St. for 26 weeks. During that time the lights will remain lit twenty four hours a day, seven days at week. The flag will stay at half staff for one year.
"Hopefully it's inspirational. And helps people cope with what's happened," said Chief DeFusco.
At Lacouture's request the fighters plan to eventually donate the flag pole to the people of Newtown.
Until then it will continue to in Pascoag–a symbol of the hope after the senseless tragedy.