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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Protect and love our children

“From darkness always comes light. We always find a way forward. We always find a light to guide us. Each of us, I am certain, will find a light and carry it.”

Those are the words of Greenwich, Conn., Superintendent of Schools William McKersie, who was expressing his appreciation last week for Greenwich students’ utmost respect during a service in the student center where all 3,000 GHS students and faculty joined to honor the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

Even though he was addressing his community, McKersie may as well have been speaking straight to the rest of America because finding a way forward is what this country always seems to do. Yet, even with the resiliency this nation has shown in the past, one has to wonder if this tragedy is one we will ever get past. Can this country bounce back from the senseless killing of 20 elementary school students and six educators, whose sole transgression that day was being in the classrooms and hallways of Sandy Hook Elementary School?

By the time this comes out, it will have been a little more than a week since the unconscionable elementary school shootings. A lot has already been said about the tragedy, and a lot more will be said in the coming weeks and months as people a lot smarter than I am debate guns and their role in society. 

Instead, this is about a father who struggles with finding “a way forward.” Who now worries about his children, who remain in Rapid City, S.D., being safe in the schools they attend, something that to this point was never an
issue. This is about a father who struggles to cope with the world we live in, where a madman enters a school and shoots children.

I suspect many have been struggling with some of the same thoughts and the maddening fact this isn’t some horrific dream we will all wake up from.

This should be a time for festive holiday thoughts. Of spending time with family and friends, sharing good food and fellowship. This should be about watching our children open presents with smiles and spreading joy and showing “goodwill toward man” during this holiday season. 

Some might be having these thoughts, but there’s no denying it is different this year, that there’s an undercurrent of sadness just below the surface this holiday season. I suspect that sadness will linger for a while as we all try to make some sense of the tragedy. And yet at some point, we will all have to move forward and collectively dust ourselves off. 

There are no easy answers in any of this. I haven’t had any answers to give my children when they’ve asked about it, nor do I have any answers to tell myself when I’ve asked the same questions. The best I can do, the best we can all do, is protect our children, love them the best we can and hope for the best.

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