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Remembrances Vary Ahead Of Anniversary Of Newtown, Conn. Massacre

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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s difficult to miss the 250-foot-long billboard along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston, and the change that’s significant.

“We owe it to families who’ve lost children at Sandy Hook to pay attention to this anniversary,” said John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence.

It’s a new unveiling from the group that’s been posting billboards along the roadway since 1995.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

This one is the image of 20 small hands representing the young victims, and a counter set at more than 32,833.

The group says the number represents their estimate of the number of Americans who’ve died from gun violence since the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut.

“That electronic counter will go up 83 more every single day,” said Rosenthal.

But in Newtown, residents want the year anniversary to pass quietly, and have not planned a townwide remembrance. Michele and Bob Gay, who lost their daughter Josephine in the killings, have since moved to Massachusetts and plan to spend the day painting a bedroom that wanted to be Joey’s.

“If I could take the fourteenth off the calendar I would do it,” said Bob Gay.

The family says it’s what they need to focus on, a project that will lift their spirits on the anniversary that comes after so many months of grief.

“There’s no reason the day will be any harder than yesterday, or the 364 days we’ve made it through so far,” said Michele Gay.

Other communities in Massachusetts are also trying to find meaningful ways to honor the victims of that day.

Burlington is planning a gun buyback program at the police station Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Captain Tom Duffy says it’s a small effort to make the town safer. Residents are also invited to pick up free gun safety locks being provided by the Burlington Clergy Group.

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