Hartford (Connecticut) Courant, Dec. 4
On December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the world changed.
Innocence was shattered. Dreams of what the future might look like were destroyed. The unthinkable became reality.
The tragedy in Newtown sent waves of pain to an unprepared world. No one was untouched: The mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands and other family members whose lives were forever broken; the first responders who still carry the trauma of what they witnessed that day; friends and counselors who desperately tried to assuage the grief; men and women everywhere who simply didn’t know how to stop crying. The horror touched us all.
You didn’t have to know one of the parents, or someone who knew one of the parents, or someone who lived in Newtown, or someone from Connecticut. President Barack Obama that day captured the mood of Connecticut and the entire nation in a few words:
“These children are our children.”
The massacre in Newtown was beyond anything seen before and so became one of those moments that fundamentally changes our perception of the world, a moment that forever broadens the definition of horror and evil. Pearl Harbor. September 11. Before Sandy Hook there had been mass killings, but children? Six-year-olds?
The idea that an elementary school could be so violated was simply beyond imagination. Until it wasn’t. The idea that someone would choose children as a target for hatred and violence was unthinkable. Until it wasn’t. We pour so much of our hopes and dreams into our children that to stand witness to the loss of young lives was more than so many of us could bear.
But, in a testament to the power of resilience, that pain also held within it the seeds of healing. The depth of our hurt also reflected the power of our hope. When we grieve the loss of hope, we affirm hope. When we grieve the loss of love, we affirm love. And when we grieve the loss of life, of innocent life taken far too soon, we affirm life.
The memories of those who perished six years ago is with us today and always. We remember their smiles and their dreams. And we also remember the hope they stood for, the hope that no evil can ever destroy.