Posted at: 12/21/2012 5:29 PM
Updated at: 12/21/2012 10:12 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4; KOB.com Staff
The wake for Emilie Parker was Friday evening. Her family is receiving an amazing outpouring of support as this tragedy has brought this community together.
Several hundred people attended a public memorial service for the 6-year-old Thursday night at the local high school.
Emilie's parents were high school sweethearts here.
Robbie Parker, Emilie's father, broke down several times during the service..
He managed to thank everyone for their support, and also spoke about why this tragedy has affected so many people.
"I slowly began to realize that even though this is a very personal and internal thing for us, I started to really feel how much this has touched not only the families and the other loved ones we knew in the area, but how it touched everyone everywhere. All of us know someone," he said. "All of us have a son or a daughter or a nephew or a cousin or somebody that is really close to us. All of us feel connected to children and those who help children."
The memorial service also included a candlelight vigil. And lanterns were lit and released for each of the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary school victims.
Emilie's father then released a final pink lantern - Emilie's favorite color.
The public is invited to wear pink and line the streets for Saturday's funeral procession.
Emilie and her family lived in Rio Rancho last year where she attended Maggie Cordova Elementary school.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 spoke with one woman who made the trek from Rio Rancho to Utah to support the Parkers.