New Jersey church creates unique memorial for school shooting victims

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (WABC) -- As students from across the country are preparing for Saturday's 'March for Our Lives', a unique memorial for the victims of the Florida school shooting has been created outside of a church in New Jersey.

There are T-shirts with the names of the shooting victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The memorial is a somber and stark reminder of an inexplainable loss, as one by one each name pulls at heartstrings.

Erected shortly after the devastating Parkland school shooting in February, the memorial outside the Episcopal Church of St. James in Montclair has forced many to not only reflect on the value of life, but do something.

"We're done preaching about it what are we going to do," Reverend Melissa Hall said. "People say 'Oh this is politics and separation of church and state.' It is not that at all. We have lined up in this country on either side of the graveyard. That's what we've done and the children are in the middle and we can't do that anymore."

Across from the 17 shirts representing the Parkland victims stand 20 more memorializing the Sandy Hook children. A notebook at the church entrance invites passersby to write messages to the survivors and their families.

Reverend Melissa Hall says faith and works go hand and hand, which is why the church will also be a rally site for the 'March for Our Lives' this Saturday in an effort to further a conversation she says goes beyond politics and simply taps into the soul.

"You have made that a catch phrase 'You're in my thoughts and prayers, you're in my thoughts and prayers," Reverend Hall said. "You have no right to say that. I have no right to say that if I have not done something."

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