School shooting memorial removed; pieces go to Newtown

A homemade memorial in Monument Square to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder was taken down earlier this week, and parts of it are now on display in Newtown, Conn., where the killings happened.

The memorial display, composed of crosses, flags and toy animals, was erected Dec. 18 by peace activists Carlos and Melida Arredondo on the fence of the Civil War Soldier’s Monument at Centre and South streets. The Arredondos removed it themselves on Dec. 23. On a Christmas Eve trip, they stopped off in Newtown, where Carlos hung some of the crosses and other items in tree along a street. It is one of many homemade memorials in Newtown.

In a letter to the Gazette, Mélida Arredondo said that she and Carlos called the memorial display the “Ad Hoc Violence Awareness Tribute.” It also included references to last year’s suicide of their son Brian and to this year’s Boston homicides. Nightly candlelight vigils were held at the memorial, which marked the 27 people killed in the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting and a related murder outside the school.

Mélida Arredondo wrote that “during this season of peace and goodwill towards men and women, we both would like all to know that we have drawn our energy from the good people of JP. Thank you for your comfort and for giving us strength.”

The Arredondos are Roslindale residents with ties to JP and a long history of peace activism. That increased after Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, Carlos’s son and Mélida’s stepson, was killed in action in the Iraq War in 2004. The Jamaica Plain post office last year was dedicated to Alexander, who was a former JP resident. Carlos Arredondo has become a nationally known peace protester and has a mobile anti-war display that he frequently exhibits in Monument Square as well as other sites around the country.

Updated version: This article has been updated with information from the Arredondos.

Crosses from the JP memorial to the victims of the Newtown school shooting hang in a tree in Newtown, Conn. earlier this week. (Photo Courtesy Mélida Arredondo)

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