Nokyoung Xayasane
February 08, 2013

Heartfelt Letters to Newtown Will Be Preserved Forever in Digital Archive (VIDEO)

Photo credit: letterstonewtown.tumblr.com

The devastating shooting deaths at Sandy Hook elementary school last year rocked the small town of Newtown, Connecticut — and the world.

Over half a million letters of condolence have poured into Newtown since the shooting occurred. Efforts are now being made by long-time Newtown resident and freelance illustrator Ross MacDonald to preserve the kind and beautiful words in a digital archive.

The physical letters will eventually be burned and their ashes will be used in the Sandy Hook memorial site.

Mother Jones, a nonprofit news organization, in partnership with Tumblr have launched the “Letters to Newtown” project, which will display the heartfelt missives from around the world.

“In their shock and grief, people were compelled to make these intensely raw, personal expressions, and send them to a town they probably hadn’t heard of before, not knowing if they would even reach us,” says MacDonald.

“They offered help, love, condolences, prayers,” continues MacDonald. “They came from children, parents, families, school classes, church groups, soldiers, mayors, survivors, inmates, and entire towns. The letters on display at town hall form a massive tapestry of a world’s sorrow.”

MacDonald doesn’t want the world to forget what happened in Newtown two months ago, but he also wants the townspeople to be able to move on from this tragedy.

“The material will be there if people want to access it,” says Newtown historian Dan Cruson, “but it’s not something that should be forced and it shouldn’t be. I mean, there should be a time left to heal where they’re not continually reminded of it.”

The archival project launched earlier this week with 25 images. Six new images will be added daily.

We send our condolences to the people of Newtown, and we hope that one day they can heal from this devastating tragedy.