I wanted to wait a few weeks until the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary took place to say anything about what occurred that sad day in December. I waited out of respect for those small children who were killed and their families. I waited out of respect for those six adults who, in some cases, gave their lives to save some of the other children that cold day.
My heart broke that Friday morning. I was at work watching the news and reading the updates Yahoo! posted. My son isn't in school yet, so I can't say that I can fully appreciate the fear that went through the minds of those parents when they heard there was a shooting at their child's school. An elementary school, no less. I couldn't watch any of the footage without crying.
But I am a parent, and I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to lose a child. The loss of a child at any age would be tough to handle, let alone those just starting out. Those kids were just beginning their days of attending school. They had so much to look forward to, and some jackass with a gun took all that away from them. My heart aches whenever I think about those children and what their parents must have gone through.
When I got home from work that afternoon, all I wanted to do was hold my son tight and not let go. I tried not to cry as I held him. I didn't want to expose him to the tragedy that had occurred that day. But it was hard to fight back the tears.
I was proud of the police department from Sandy Hook and the way they seemed to have handled the terrible incident. I was proud because they made the decision not to release the names of the deceased out of respect. Yes, somehow they got out, but in my humble opinion, anyone not involved did not need to know who they were.
I was proud of the media for not sticking their cameras in the faces of anyone who would talk. They kept away from the families of those lost that first night and let them deal with everything that had just happened.
I was proud of the teachers who gave their lives for those of their students. I can't even imagine being in a situation like that. God bless teachers and what they handle and cope with every day.
Because of this event and all the other school shootings that have occured over the past several years, I am a firm believer that there should be an armed officer present at every school across this nation. Making guns illegal isn't going to stop crazy people from getting them. Meth and cocaine are illegal. Are you going to tell me people still can't get their hands on those?
On a more positive note, I found this poem on Facebook the other afternoon. It is written by someone named Cameo Smith. It touched my heart, and I thought I would share it with you. It brings the attention of the tragedy back to where it needs to be: the children.
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.
"This is heaven," declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
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
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And 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."
May God bless each and every student, family and first responder involved in that horrific day at Sandy Hook Elementary. And may the government reconsider putting God back in our schools.
I am looking for tips from moms and dads who have more than one child. Do you have any advice to offer this second-time mom-to-be on bringing home another little one? How to budget my time? How to make the older one not feel left out of anything? If you do and would like to share that info with me, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the paper at 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952. I need all advice by Jan. 26.
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)