Sandy Hook Victim Gets Street Named In His Memory - New York News

Sandy Hook Victim Gets Street Named In His Memory

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Six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler Six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler
Street named after six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler in his memory Street named after six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler in his memory

A street sign in Queens now bears the name of a little boy killed in the Newtown elementary school massacre. It's right across from his favorite subway train in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler died alongside nineteen other innocent children when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary with a gun last December and started shooting.

Ben loved swimming, the Beatles, soccer, and perhaps most of all, the Seven train. A street across from that train now bears his name.

"Congressman Crowley said, 'Maybe we could name the subway station after Benjamin Wheeler.' And I said: 'That's a great idea. I support it 100 percent, but the MTA [Metropolitan Transit Authority] can be a little funny about things sometime.'" Jimmy Van Bramer, of the New York City Council said during the ceremony.

Instead, those leaders settled on a street sign. Ben's older brother Nate did the unveiling, while his mother watched. His father compared the family's departed first grader to luminaries whose names oversee other Queens streets.

"Ben didn't serve in the Second World War and help liberate a concentration camp and live to be 100 like Anthony Camenetti did. Ben was six. He had just learned how to tie his shoes. That was his major accomplishment and, frankly, he hadn't really perfected that either," reflected David Wheeler.

That mix of humor and sadness pervaded much of the hour-long ceremony. A US congressman sang Ben's favorite song. Those who knew the boy remembered his smarts, curiosity, and kindness.

"We took the train together and Ben sat next to me and curled himself up in my arms and I think that might be the last time I saw him," said Tom Kelly, a Wheeler family friend.

And the family, whose son called Sunnyside home for barely a year, thanked the community and asked that Benjamin Wheeler Place point out not only where passers-by's are now but also where they can go in the future.

"You quite literally have kept us standing," thanked Wheeler.

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