The sound of bells echoed through grief-stricken Newtown, Connecticut, Tuesday. More than 1,000 brightly ornamented bells were hung throughout the town by volunteers.
The bells -- called Ben's Bells -- were flown in from Tucson, Arizona, from an organization founded by Jeannete Mare, a mom who knows the pain of loss all too well. Her son, Ben, suddenly died of a virus when he was almost 3. Mare started the project soon after Ben died. A decade years later, the bells have come to be known nationally as symbols of healing.
Soon after the December massacre in Newtown, people in Connecticut reached out to her asking for Ben's Bells, Mare said.
The group chose January 8 to hang the bells because it is the anniversary of another dark day in history: the Tucson shooting in which six people were killed and Rep. Gabby Giffords was severely wounded. After that tragedy, the bells brought hope and community to so many who were grieving.
"Our town came together in a big way, together to grieve and heal," Mare said. "And when the tragedy in Newtown happened we were just like the entire world was -- incredibly moved and motivated to be able to do something and show our support."
The volunteers gathered to ring bells to commemorate the moment of the Tucson massacre. Then they wrapped up their project.
"We just sort of go out hanging the bells quietly and we leave and the bells work their magic from there," Mare said.
The magic seemed to be working. Before long, people in the town were taking notice.
Each bell has a tag attached. If you find one, you are to pick it up, take it home, and pay it forward with an act of kindness.
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