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In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, the country was left devastated.

One San Marcos man wanted to express more than his own grief by creating a public memorial. Lou De Lorca is currently a math and English teacher at Creekside High School in Murrieta and also has been a school principal. As more of the details of the shooting were revealed, De Lorca said he felt emotion and a personal interest in teacher Vicki Soto, who saved her students by hiding them in a closet before she was shot and killed.

To honor the victims and first responders, De Lorca built a tribute in front of his home at 455 Ponte Avenue in San Marcos. The memorial features a lit sign with a list of names, flowers, candles, little angel plaques with photos of the students, and 26 lit trees with the victims’ names.

Neighbors and others pass by, slow down, or stop to reflect and pay their respects. The materials for the memorial were donated by Home Depot, and the 26 trees were donated by a local Christmas-tree lot. The memorial will remain up through January.

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