DELRAN, N.J. - A South Jersey community is coming together to remember the 19 students and two adults slain in Uvalde, Texas, as well as, a husband of one of the victims who suffered a heart attack following the mass shooting.
Thursday night, 22 chimes were ringing outside of the Delran Municipal Building, signifying the lives tragically stolen this week.
"My daughter is 15. She actually would’ve been the same age as the children who were killed at Sandy Hook. I remember that vividly," says Jennifer Sewell, the organizer of the vigil. "My son is 10. He’s in 4th grade and now I face that same connection to these poor parents in Texas."
Sewell says she felt compelled to host this event as she reflected on the many mass shootings in the United States in recent years.
"I realized how hard it is almost to be proud of where I come from and I’ve never felt that way," says Sewell.
Parents tell say they’re holding their children tightly and everyone is thinking about what needs to change.
"More protection. Gun laws need to change a little bit," says Delran freshman, Vivian Sewell.
Local parent Peggy Schweikert Kavalkovich says, "We can go back and forth with guns, but it’s really the mental health. Why is someone going to do this?"
Kavalkovich’s son is a Delran 5th grader. "The day after it happened, he said a bunch of kids, when they went out for recess, were kinda looking around to see if anybody was there, which is scary to me," she adds.
Nate Sewell, a 10-year-old, says his teacher talked about the tragedy in class. "He just told us that we’re all safe and I’m very grateful for that," says Sewell while filling up with tears.
Nate’s Mom hopes events like this one inspire the community to take action. "To not let this be another one that’s forgotten."