Sunday, December 16, 2012

remembering the children

20 precious angels, whose little lives had just begun, who went to school that morning excited to learn something new, sitting in a room, filled with artwork that their little hands had worked so hard on, walls filled with ABC's and 123's. 20 little precious babies who were trying their hardest to make the nice list for Santa. Who were so excited to sit on Santa’s lap, give them their lists. 20 homes that on Christmas morning, will not be filled with the joyous yells of children as they open their gifts, but instead with the sounds of tears and screams as parents because Santa cant give them what they really want, their children back. 20 children who will never get to experience life, who will never get to learn to drive, graduate high school, attend prom, have their own children, 20 wedding days that will never come. These sweet children had just begun their lives and they are already over.

6 brave souls who dedicated their lives to educating children, who loved each of their children like their own. Who looked forward to seeing their smiles every day. 6 loving souls who went out with acts of bravery, to try and spare the lives of their small students. It takes a loving caring soul to be a teacher especially an elementary school teacher, someone with patience, a kind heart, a gentle touch, and a lot of love.

 And finally the survivors, the children who were in the school that day as well and were so terrified. The teachers who jumped into action, protecting their students, telling them they were loved, trying to keep them calm and praying for safety. the first responders who had to rush in and see the horrific scene that will be burned into their heads forever, the parents who waited to see if their children were ok, praying to god that they were not harmed. The entire town, the entire nation, everyone affected by this tragedy.

Schools, especially elementary schools, are supposed to be a safe place. A place where their parents felt the only danger they could face was being called a doody head or being told they had cooties! What kind of world do we live in that school is not even safe for small children! I keep trying to make sense of it, and I just can’t. Never before has a tragedy like this hit me so hard. I was so young when 9/11 hit so when I saw it on TV over and over I remember being sad and hurt and as I grew up more and more I would cry when I saw footage of it because I had begun to understand what had happened. when I hear of news like this, the shooting in Colorado, school shootings, mall shootings, other acts of senseless evil, I pray for those affected, I feel sadness for them, and I thank god for what I have, but never have I been hit so hard by something like this.

Maybe it’s because I feel a connection to these parents because I too have lost a child suddenly and tragically. They sent their children to school that morning expecting to pick them up at the end of the day, safe and sound. I put my son to bed the night before he died, expecting to wake up to his big smiles the next morning, and like that family, I did not expect something to go so terribly wrong during something that was so routine. I just can’t stop crying as I watch the TV, and I want nothing more than to just go to the town of Newtown and hug every parent and child.

This tragedy has already begun to spark discussion and debate on a political level. Things like Gun control, school security, and other topics. I think that these topics do need to be discussed yes however is now the time and place? give these families respect, don’t turn their tragedy into a national debate, let them have their grief before everyone starts fighting over who could have stopped this and what should have been done to prevent it, what will be done to prevent it in the future and who is to blame for not doing something sooner. I think that everyone should back off those topics, not worry about the politics of this, and worry about uniting to honor and support the families of the lost. There is plenty of time for political discussion and debates after these parents have at least had the chance to lay their children to rest. It also doesn’t help that much of the media is making this a circus, interviewing the poor children, as if they haven’t been through enough, let’s exploit them and steal even more of their innocence. I feel like a lot of the media is not handling this with any compassion towards the victims and survivors of this tragedy. It’s really sad.

Then there is the killer, the man who we still don’t know much about. What is known is that he was clearly not well, he killed his mother, and then went on to senselessly kill 26 innocent people. The media keeps ringing up the fact that the shooter is believed to have a form of autism. I am shocked that they keep saying this like it’s an excuse or makes what he did ok in a way. "he didn’t know what he was doing, he was autistic" I understand that mental illness is a very complicated thing, I have seen firsthand a child giving you hugs and love on minute and then the next kicking and screaming, saying things like they want to kill everyone, just because you tell them it is bedtime. It is a very complicated illness that has a traumatic effect on the friends and family of the individual. I don’t think that it should be as much expressed by the media, I think that much like the political topics, this can be discussed. I don’t think that anyone should sympathize for this man until we know more about who he is, we know his name, that he was only 20, but other than that we don’t know motive, we don’t know lifestyle, it hasn’t even been confirmed, as far as I know, that he in fact was autistic or diagnosed as mentally ill. Think if it were your child, would you want someone to feel compassion for the man who killed your child just because he was sick? Would you want the act that stole your child to be justified like that? Again there is a time and place for everything.

As for me, I know that I will never forget these children. I know that I will never forget Dec 14, 2012. I know that I will keep them in my heart. I even said a prayer to my bug and asked him to give them a hug from me. I am just asking that everyone do the same, stop thinking about the politics, the excuses, and the media circus. Think of the children, remember them, and find a way to honor them this Christmas. Think of the families who are too hurt to celebrate this holiday. Think of those lost, remember the children.

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