We've been sitting at the computer, almost all day, trying to figure out what is going on at home. We have family, friends, and former classmates and teammates who live and work in Newtown. There are so many questions that may never get answered. You think, “How could this ever happen here?” Maybe the biggest question is “Why?” It's so difficult to see and hear about places we grew up near on national television- that darn flagpole, and the $2 movie theater, and the diner everyone went to when ours closed- and then listening to the President talking about, and knowing where, Newtown, CT is.
Our mom sent us a text yesterday morning, as she was shopping in Newtown, asking us if we had heard about a shooting at an elementary school. This was right before I left to go into a 4th grade classroom, here in Olympia, for the day. At lunch, another teacher asked if I had heard about it. At that point, I didn't realize the massiveness of the event, and spent the rest of the time trying to comprehend what had happened.
As I sat in a classroom on the other side of the country, all I could think about was those children who will never get a chance to grow up. They won't go out on their first date, have a first kiss, or, get married and have children of their own. They'll never get the chance to score the winning goal, have another first day of school, make the honor roll or go to college. There are parents who will never see their children open up those Christmas presents. They won't see them grow up into beautiful young men and women. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the children and their families and friends.
As teachers, we go through the drills, just in case. You hope and pray that nothing will ever happen like that in your school. We practiced an earthquake drill out here in Washington yesterday, and all I could think of was, this could be so much different. What would I do if this was real? I'd like to think that I would do exactly as the teachers at Sandy Hook did: protect the children, no matter what, and be able to help those students who were sad and confused. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of all of the adults who were true heroes yesterday.
As much as you want to hate the man who did this, you also need to remember that the family also lost their mother. They're in our thoughts as well.
Growing up one town over, Newtown was always our biggest rival. Our schools had the “7-Mile Challenge” and the football teams play every Thanksgiving Eve. Now, we have to forget our differences and come together to help the community. We may not have the best things to say about Connecticut, but it will always be home. It makes us proud to see how the people of Monroe and the rest of Connecticut, and the country, are rallying together to try to help make this time a little easier for their neighbors.
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