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A Letter To The Angels of Newtown
To The Angels
To The Angels
Dear Angels of Newtown, Connecticut,
I have never met you. I didn’t know about you until December 14, 2012, when a madman came into your school and took each of your young lives. You lived quiet, young lives in a quiet, little town. You had parents who loved you unconditionally and most of you had brothers, sisters, friends who loved each and every one of you.
I don’t know your teachers and principal and psychologist who gave their lives in an effort to save yours. They did everything they could to protect you from the violence that took your lives. They didn’t want you to know that such violence existed in the world. They wanted to believe that the worst dangers that you could face could be fought off with karate and thinking happy thoughts. That a simple “I love you” could save you from anything.
I didn’t know you or your teachers. I do know boys and girls just like you. Little boys who laugh at little girls and then chase them at recess. Little boys who can’t sit still long enough to answer a question. Little boys who are ornery and loving at the same time. Little boys that want to learn so badly, but don’t know. Little boys whose only job in life is to be little boys.
Little girls that tease the boys to get a chase started. Little girls with amazing little giggles that make everyone around them giggle. Little girls who want to do their best in class, even though sometimes that means sitting down longer than they think they can. Little girls who want to be pretty, and want frills and ribbons. Little girls who want jeans, t-shirts, and to do what all of the little boys do. Little girls whose only job in life is to be little girls.
I know teachers who would do anything for their students. Who love their students as much as they love their own children. Teachers who love every child in their class, even though some of those students drive them completely crazy. Teachers who love those students perhaps a little more, just because they need it more. Teachers who spend more time with their students than they do with their own families. Teachers who spend hours before and after school just to make sure they use the right lessons, the right materials, to make sure each and every child in their classroom gets taught so that they can learn. Teachers who are simply doing their best to be the best they can.
I know a principal that would do anything to protect her students. Who only does what she thinks is best for the teachers and the students in her school. A principal who spends long hours doing paperwork to keep the school running and safe, when sometimes she would rather be working directly with the children in her care. A principal who is tough when she needs to be, but is also able to offer a comforting shoulder to those in need. A principal who is doing her best to be the best she can.
Angels of Newtown, Connecticut, I didn’t know you. Not personally. But I know people who are exactly like you in every way. They are kind, caring, young people – some who devote their lives to helping young people grow –some whose job it is to grow into happy, healthy adults.
My arms wrap around your surviving family, friends, and teachers. I can’t fathom what they are going through. I know they are missing their angels – I know they are asking themselves what they could have done – even though they did everything they possibly could.
Rest in peace, Angels. Rest knowing that we here on earth are going to do everything we can to prevent this from happening again. It might be an impossible task, but we are going to do our best. And try to live with the fact that this is all we can do.
That day in December was a horrible day for me as a teacher. I teach children the same age as those killed by that monster that day. When I returned to school the morning after the shooting, I gathered my young charges around me. We read a funny story. We talked. We just were. The students didn't know why we did things differently that day. They didn't bring up the shooting, and neither did I. My little ones were just too young to understand what I still didn't understand myself. But I knew. I just wanted them close to me. I just wanted to keep them close and watch them be children and make sure that just for that day, they would be safe. I was saddened when it was time for them to return to their regular classes, but I let them go. I wanted their lives to remain as normal as they could. Their lives still were normal. The students from Sandy Hook Elementary School will never have another normal day. Not really. They will always wonder if the unthinkable could happen again. Would there be another day that a mad man would enter their school and kill their friends and their teachers? Children who were not injured in the attack still had to deal with the aftermath of it. They couldn't return to the school they attended - they had to find another one to attend. They had to eventually return to school without teachers they loved and friends they had played with. Since they would never have another normal day at school, I wanted to make sure that every day would be as normal as I could make it for my students.