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Posted by: thepinetree on 04/30/2013 11:27 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 04/30/2013 11:39 PM
Expires: 01/01/2018 12:00 AM
:

Tragedy Brings Our Community Together By Lea-Marie C. Paar

Valley Springs, Ca... Tragedy struck our small community on Saturday, April 27th, 2013, when Leila Fowler, a beautiful 8-year-old little girl, was killed in her Valley Springs home. As news of this tragedy spread throughout Valley Springs and beyond, friends and family rallied to help her family get through this horrible time. Hardly even three days after this tragedy struck, a vigil was held at Leila's elementary school...


Click Above for Additional Photos


On Tuesday, April 30th, 2013, hundreds of people gathered at the Jenny Lind Elementary School, to remember the happy little girl who charmed her way into so many hearts. As Leila's favorite colors had been pink and purple, everyone was encouraged to wear those colors, and to make this event as bright and colorful as possible. Children and adults of all ages had gathered in these colors; a Facebook event page for the vigil read that over nine hundred people planned to attend, and still thousands more had been invited.

School buses were used to ferry groups of people from parking lots to the school, and upon stepping off, everyone was directed to a table where they received a purple ribbon and a candle. Upon receiving these items, everyone was directed to walk a ways down to the fence that lined the highway, and tie their ribbons to it, as a reminder to the passing community that so many people loved this child and so many more will miss her so much.

After tying off their ribbons, everyone wandered back up to the school and gathered into every spare place they could find. Family, friends, and strangers alike gathered, lighting each other's candles and praying together, craning to hear, as Leila's teachers spoke of her. "She was a bit of a chatterbox," one teacher tearfully described, "and she will hold a spot in my heart forever."

Music rang out over everyone as the sun started to set. In ragged unison, the sea of people lifted their lit candles above their heads, as many wept for Leila and still more stood, heads bowed, in stoic silence. As, slowly, candles died out or were blown out by the wind, people started to trickle out to leave. Still, many people stayed for a while longer, remembering the beautiful little girl who was so proud of her reading glasses, and was kind to everyone she encountered, giving a wide, happy smile to all.



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