To the Editor:

For the first time in my life recently, I was somewhat ashamed of the town I was born and raised in.

In the wake of one of the worst tragedies in memory, the decision was made to move forward with Christmas festivities in our town Dec. 14 by celebrating "Holiday in the Depot."

When asked why, there were those who said, "The town needs this."

I couldn't disagree more. Perhaps if these events had happened a week before or two weeks or a month. But this horror was just hours old and becoming worse with every passing minute and new detail.

How do we view ourselves?

When the worst massacre of children in our nation's history is taking place in a neighboring town just a few miles away and we continue our celebration by playing Christmas carols throughout the depot, offering rides in horse-drawn wagons and hoping to win one of the many raffle prizes being given away.

No one and no place is perfect, but we dropped the ball here.

When the president of the United States becomes involved and when flags across the country are lowered and when condolences from religious and world leaders are pouring in, we really need to stop and think about what is important.

Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to invite our local clergy to say a few words at a brief, respectful vigil on the Town Hall steps, rather than a celebration of any kind.

One of the qualities that has always defined Washington as such a special place has been our ability to empathize, to rally around and to do the right thing in difficult times.

I know most if not all who were involved in this decision, and they are all good, well-meaning people who through the years have given selflessly of their time and energy for the betterment of Washington.

I also have no doubt whatsoever they felt the same sickening feelings we all did as the horrific events of the day unfolded.

But this was a terrible mistake. We, as a community are better than this.

The intent of this letter is not to blame or shame or preach to anyone. I pray something like this never happens again anywhere but, if it does, I hope we do the right thing.

Jim Brinton