CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A living memorial to 20 children and 6 teachers who lost their lives in Newtown, Conn., one year ago, now stands tall at a park dedicated to children in uptown Charlotte.
A 12-foot magnolia tree stands near the Children's Memorial Walkway at Frazier Park on West 4th Street, dedicated to lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
The annual winter memorial service for the Children's Memorial Walkway coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Newtown shootings, said organizers, so they included a moment of silence for the children and their teachers.
The walkway and garden at Frazier Park are a memorial for children who have died. Parents can dedicate a brick for children of any age they have lost.
Jerry Mudge, chairwoman of the Children's Memorial Walkway, said the parents who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary have a tough year ahead of them.
"The second year is so much worse," she said. "First year, your shock carries you and thank God you have that shock but the second year it becomes a reality.. they're not coming back."
Both of Mudge's sons were killed in a car accident in 1990, but she said she thinks of them every day.
She said she prayed God would give her cancer the year after her sons died, because she was so grief-stricken.
Now she gives advice to others about how to talk to grieving parents: Say the children's names, and let parents talk about them. It lets parents remind others that their children lived.
The Children's Memorial Walkway at Frazier Park is located where W. 4th Street passes under I-77. The Newtown memorial tree is planted near the creek.