Sandy Hook memorial opens with no ceremony 10 years after massacre

Family members of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting have welcomed the opening of a new memorial in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly 10 years after the deadliest school shooting in modern US history.

The long-awaited monument opened to the public on Sunday without a ceremony, in keeping with Newtown’s tradition of marking anniversaries of the shooting without fanfare.

Designed by Dan Affleck and Ben WaldoIt, the focus of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial is a sycamore tree in the middle of a reflection pool.

The names of the 26 victims are engraved in the top of a stone wall next to the pool.

The monument is surrounded by a “circling network” of paths through 5.3 acres of woodland and meadows, according to the designers’ website.

Jennifer Hubbard, whose 6-year-old daughter Catherine died in the shooting, told the Associated Press it “took her breath away” to see her daughter’s name enscribed on the memorial.

A monument to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy has opened (AP)
A monument to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy has opened (AP)
The focus of the $3.7m of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial is a sycamore tree in the middle of a reflection pool (AP)
The focus of the $3.7m of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial is a sycamore tree in the middle of a reflection pool (AP)

“I think that the memorial is so perfectly appointed in honouring and providing a place of contemplation and reflection for a day that really changed the country,” Ms Hubbard told the AP.

Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose daughter, Ana Grace, 6, died in the shooting, tweeted that 10 years had passed in a “lifetime and a blink”.

“Ana Grace, we used to wait for you to come home. Now you wait for us,” she tweeted.

Relatives of victims were offered a private tour of the memorial on Saturday, the AP reported.

Visitors to the site are greeted with a plaque featuring a quote from a speech made by former president Barack Obama when he attended a vigil in Newtorn two days after the shooting.

“Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation,” the quote from Mr Obama reads. “I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.”

The memorial cost $3.7m, with the bill split between the Newtown residents and the State Bond Commission.

The 10th anniversary of the shooting is on 14 December.