For Cara Cipriano, the emotions were overwhelming as she passed by Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket on Monday morning, where an employee was placing American flags – 26 of them – on the front lawn.
She returned to that place Monday night after gathering a handful of friends and community members for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of after Friday's tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 first-grader students and 7 adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Our hearts go out to all the families who are grieving," Cipriano said. "That's why we light our candles."
Fred Bryant, president of Bryant Funeral Home, said generations of people have come to the funeral home to grieve for their own losses and for others' losses, too. Monday marked the first time the funeral home has displayed the flags on the front lawn for something other than a holiday such as Veteran's Day or Memorial Day.
"We all feel pretty helpless we can't do anything to help those families in Connecticut," he said. "By doing this, we're showing they're in our thoughts and prayers."
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Cipriano acknowledged the call for change that has been sounded by many. "It's sad that it took a tragedy like this to be a catalyst," she said.