The first place I slept away from home was in my elementary school, in Mrs. Hamilton’s classroom. After nap time, I’d color pictures or play kickball with my friends. At the end of the day, George the bus driver would pick up my brothers and me and we’d listen to Three Dog Night on the radio singing “Joy to the World.” It was a safe, secure place for a 6-year-old.
That school was Sandy Hook Elementary, and those days were long ago, before Columbine and Virginia Tech and Aurora and San Bernardino. This Dec. 14, it is important for us to pause and remember what happened in Newtown. It is important because we are, unfortunately, prone to forget.
I forget, some days, about the slaughter of innocents that occurred at Sandy Hook. I forget about the preciousness of life. I forget about the violence that people commit with guns every single day in this country. I forget to examine my conscience, to ask if I have done all that I can so that what happened at Sandy Hook does not happen in one of our schools. I forget that 28 human beings died in Newtown, not 26, and because I forget I do not have to ask if my compassion is deep enough to include the suffering that Nancy and Adam Lanza both endured in their lives.
Let us remember, then: for those who died, for their families, for Newtown, for our community, for our children, and for ourselves.
Jeff Hayes, State College