Alex Wong/Getty Images - Survivors and family members of victims of gun violence, including Andrei Nikitchyuk (Center) of Newtown, Connecticut, whose son was in the building when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened held a news conference with the Brady Campaign to discuss gun violence.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The night Andrei Nikitchyuk came home after 20 young students had been killed at his son’s school, he pulled out the family’s Christmas tree.
Nikitchyuk and his wife, Erin, needed to create a distraction. Their youngest child, known as Bear, a third-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School, had been carrying an attendance sheet down a hallway as the gunman opened fire. A teacher pulled Bear into a classroom and saved his life. Three of his friends died.
If there was ever a time for a little Christmas, his parents resolved, it was now.
The second thoughts came immediately. How could they celebrate the holidays when so many of their friends were suffering? Andrei became preoccupied with researching gun laws. Erin couldn’t imagine shopping for presents when Main Street was log-jammed with funeral processions. For days, the tree stood barren in their living room.
Courtesy of the Nikitchyuk family) - Andrei Nikitchyuk (L) with his son Bear.