Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, Slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School, To Be Laid to Rest Saturday, December 22, in Bloomfield, CT
Yes, it is snowing like a cold day in hell here in Madison, WI. But that is another story entirely.
The funerals have begun, another long roll of death once again spooling out. As a result, it feels like a long, long week. It seems that the only local undertaker/funeral home in Newtown is overwhelmed. It has also become a bit of a zoo over there, with funerals occurring almost at the same time. Crowds of bereaved families, friends, residents and out-of-town visitors paying their respects want to attend all, to connect with each other in their sorrow, but they cannot. They cannot.
First, two children a day at least were being buried, and not necessarily in Newtown. Then six were buried on Thursday. The U.S. and international media is camped out there like a foraging army. Newtown, I read, can’t wait to see it all end, so they can slowly, and at first painfully, get back to their lives.
Young Jack Pinto and Benjamin Wheeler were each saluted by their area Cub and Boy Scout troop–and others from miles around. Some lined the entrances when the funeral processions arrived at the church. It’s called the Boy Scouts Honor Guard. Dozens of others wore their uniforms as they joined the mourners. The gesture recalls the ceremonies given for soldiers who have died in war. And while I recognize that they are being highly respectful in a teachable moment to give respect to children who have died so violently, Pinto and Wheeler were not in a war.
There were several other positive notes: the detestable Westboro Baptist Church protesters were effectively kept from showing off their hatred yesterday at the funeral of the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal, Dawn Hochsprung, by a contingent of firefighters who blocked their view of the mourners. Another heroine, teacher Victoria Soto, was buried in Stratford to the music of Paul Simon, a family friend, who sang “The Sounds of Silence.”
And Anonymous, UG Nazi and Jester—left-leaning hacker organizations—have triple-teamed Westboro Baptist Church by disrupting its websites and feeds, thus taking them down; it’s to keep the church from making hay from these babies’ deaths.
The online offensive against the Westboro Baptist Church continues to gain momentum.
The Twitter accounts of two prominent members of the hate-mongering group were apparently infiltrated this week by members of the infamous hacker collective UG Nazi.
On Monday, Wired.com confirmed that 15-year-old whiz kid “Cosmo the God,” a prolific member of the UG Nazi “hacktivist” group, had successfully carried out a takeover of @DearShirley, the Twitter account opened by WBC spokeswoman Shirley Lynn Phelps-Roper.
A Homegoing Celebration will begin at noon at The First Cathedral, 1151 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, Conn. The visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon prior to the service at the church. Burial will be private.
Carmon Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.carmonfuneralhome.com.
Ana’s parents, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Márquez-Greene, have asked that donations in her memory be made to one’s choice of three funds:
• The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund, care of Western Connecticut State University, Office of Institutional Advancement, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810 or http://www.wcsu.edu/ia/greene-scholarship.asp
• The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Family Therapy Fund, care of the Outpatient Clinic/Family Therapy Institute, Klingberg Family Centers, 370 Linwood St., New Britain, CT 06052
• The Artist’s Collective, 1200 Albany Ave., Hartford, CT 06112
Ana is survived by her father, Jimmy Greene, a jazz saxophonist and an assistant professor of music at Western Connecticut State University; her mother, Nelba Márquez-Greene, program coordinator for the Family Therapy Institute at Klingberg Family Centers and Central Connecticut State University adjunct faculty; and her brother Isaiah, a happy, intelligent and musical boy who loves hockey and very much misses his sister.
Her parents said Ana’s love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk. In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere — her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship. “We ask that you pray for the legions of people who are left behind to cherish memories of her.”
Nelba Márquez-Greene said she hopes the tragedy of the school shooting will bring a greater awareness to mental health issues and to reduce the stigma attached to those with mental illness, perhaps preventing tragedies like the one that took Ana’s life. Information on how those with mental illness can get help can be found at www.aamft.org.
Cards for the Márquez-Greene family may be sent to WCSU, Department of Music, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810 or to Klingberg Family Centers at 370 Linwood St., New Britain, CT 06052.
So those of you who wish to show your respect to this child and to her family, you have several ways to do it. You do not have to be present, but a card or a letter would definitely be of comfort. You can contribute in her name to the above funds. Or you can do it all.
If you do plan to attend, wear purple. According to the official Facebook page set up by her family, Remembering Ana Marquez-Greene, purple was Ana’s favorite color. And she liked sparkles and sequins.
Ana Greene was not the first nor will she be the last child to be killed by flying bullets, whether from a drive-by or on a basketball court; while walking to school, sitting on a stoop talking to friends, lying in bed or having dinner. (In other words, many of these children killed are not killed because of involvement with drugs or gangs.) Or during an attack at an institution, mall, or movie theater. Like every child who is done to death in this horrific manner, whether in Chicago (where 270 children have lost their lives on its streets from gun violence within the last three years) or in Philadelphia or in East Palo Alto, she did not deserve this fate. Not more so because she lived in a privileged neighborhood, or was part of a devout Christian and middle-class family. She deserved to sing her song and to have a good life like all of our children. As we would wish for all of our children, whoever they are and wherever they live.
Like all of the other needless victims of violence, Ana wasn’t about death. She was about life, new beginnings, goodness and sweetness. Let us all remember her like that, because once upon a time, we were like her, starting out in the wide world.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, little Ana.
- Girl killed in Connecticut shooting lived in Winnipeg (cbc.ca)
- Vigil held for Ana Marquez-Greene, Winnipeg girl killed in Newtown school shooting (metronews.ca)
- Shooting victim had just moved to U.S. from Canada (thestar.com)
- Puerto Rico family mourns after US school shooting (utsandiego.com)
- sandy hook teachers sacrificed themselves for kids (thesun.co.uk)
- Puerto Ricans mourn two of their own in Sandy Hook shooting (repeatingislands.com)