'Light Up Oxford With Love' illuminates community on anniversary of shooting

'Oxford is a community that stands strong'
Posted at 11:28 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 23:35:32-05

OXFORD, Mich. (WXYZ) — On a night marked by tragedy, the strength of Oxford is shining. Up and down neighborhood streets, luminarias lit up the night.

The community is reminding one another that they’re not alone.

"Something like this to happen to our community was devastating, so this is what we're going to be doing every year,” Oxford resident Tracy Arnold said. "It's very hard for these kids, and a lot of people don’t realize how hard it’s hit this community.”

Outside Arnold’s home were dozens of luminarias and a projector screen her son set up, displaying messages of hope and pictures of each student who was killed that day.

“A lot of emotions thinking of the four families that lost their children,” Arnold's son Justin Powers said.

In total, more than 20,000 luminarias were passed out to the community just before 7 p.m. Wednesday. A landscape company was hard at work lining the sidewalks in front of homes and businesses including Michelle’s Home Decor.

“I just think it’s beautiful," owner Michelle Fredericks said. “I think it’s great that everyone is getting together... Oxford is a community that stands strong.”

Oakland Co. Sheriff Bouchard discusses healing in Oxford one year after school shooting

The lights were even seen beyond Oxford, with one Oxford father going above and beyond with his display set up right outside the high school.

"These are just searchlights," the parent explained. "I call them the moonbeams to heaven for our four Oxford angels.”

That father planned it all the night before and didn't want recognition. However, he wanted those four angels to know, and other towns to see, that Oxford remembers and still stands strong.

“We're just trying to show them that we all care and we realize everything is tough still and will continue to be tough," said lifelong Oxford resident Dianne Offer. "We have a lot to get through yet.”

It’s been a year full of hard days with more hard days yet to come. However, even in the darkest of moments, Wednesday night is proof that Oxford Strong still shines through it all.