Liberian children pay tribute to Conn. victims

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2012 12:47 PM

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Twenty Liberian schoolchildren from a school sponsored by the Newtown Rotary Club in this West African nation on Friday gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia to give their condolences over the Connecticut school tragedy.

Each child from the Caroline Miller School in Monrovia deposited a flower on a poster bearing the name of a victim of the deadly shooting.

"Life is so sweet, and our friends wanted to live and enjoy it; but death could not permit them," said 10-year-old Frances Komoyan. "Their deaths were too sudden and unexpected; it could have been you or me; this is why we have come to say sorry."

The pupils arrived one after another calling the name of a child killed in the shooting and depositing a flower on a poster bearing the name of the deceased. They also presented to U.S. Embassy officials individual sympathy cards.

One card presented by a 9-year-old in memory of 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler read: "Why this time, Lord? We are so sorry for the loss of lives."

Math and Science teacher Philemena Tolbert of the Caroline Miller school urged their families "to take heart; we share your pains."

"We have been very touched by the outpouring of support and sympathy that we have received from Liberians across the board," U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac said.

In addition to sponsoring the Caroline Miller School, the Newtown Rotary Club helped to repatriate Liberian children from Ghana at the end of the 1989-2003 Liberian civil war, according to Robert Dolo, founder of an organization that has a partnership with the Rotary club.