For the past four days, I have been trying to make sense of the senseless. There are no words that can adequately describe the pain in my heart after hearing of the tragedy that struck Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people lost their lives, among them were twenty children and six adults. The question of why, has crossed my mind many times, but the short of it is, there is no why. Sometimes in life no matter how hard we try to make sense of things, they just do not make sense, and never will.
I will not give credence to the man who created this fear, this pain, this tragedy, by speaking his name. I ask that you all strike his name from your memories as well. Instead I would ask that you remember the heroes. The people who in the face of danger, did everything they could to protect the children, some like Vicki Soto, giving their lives, so that others may live. Vicki was only 27 years old, but when she heard gunfire in her school, she didn’t stop to think about herself, instead she took the children in her care and hid them all, in closets, in cupboards and anywhere else that she could find; then she stood and waited for the inevitable. She stood and waited for the gunman to enter her classroom.
I do not know the fear that was in her mind at the time, but I do know that she, is one of the bravest souls I have ever heard of. When the gunman came, she stood and faced him, and when he asked where the children were, she did not give in, she told him her children were in gym class. The gunman then shot and killed Vicki, her body was found huddled near the closet door, where she hid most of her students, protecting them until the very end.
Vicki was not alone in her heroism.
Principal Dawn Hochsprung gave her life trying to disarm the man that tore their world apart, upon hearing of the intruder in her school, she charged the man and tried to disarm him. Everyone that knew Dawn described her as a happy person, someone who honestly with her entire being, loved children. In her actions that fateful day, she proved just how far that love extended.
Maryrose Kristopik, ushered her small wards into a closet, before pulling a bookcase in front of the door, and locking it tight. She told them that the bad guys were there, but she promised the good guys would come soon, she is quoted as saying “We hid in the closet, we held hands, we hugged.” In those moments when she did not know whether they were going to live or die, she held the children close, told them to smile, and that she wanted them to know, that she loved them. In an interview Maryrose said “As a teacher, I wasn’t sure if I should be saying such things.” As a mother I thank you Maryrose, for in the face of danger, when you were watching over so many little ones, you gave them hope, and showed them love and compassion. They will, I am sure, remember your words until the very end.
I ran across a poem the other day, that helped me cope with this tragedy, in a way that at first, I didn’t think possible, and though I know not the author, I would like to share it with you in hopes that it will help your heart heal as well.
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious; their laughter filled the air,
…they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy; they didn’t know what to say,
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
As they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
As if He could read all the questions she had,
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”,
“I’m taking back my nation, I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound,
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT”
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06
- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06
- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982 (full date of birth not specified)
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06
P.O. Box 3700,
Newtown, CT 06470