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“I Will Never Forget” by Melissa Antal, Founder and Executive Director of It Can Happen Here

"Forget-Me-Not" by Annastasia

“Forget-Me-Not” by Annastasia

 

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? Twenty children and their educators slain in their school. I will never forget. I was in the car line to pick up my Kindergartener. It was all I could do not to leave the car where it idled and run into the school to find him. I just wanted to hold him and know he was OK.

I will never forget.

Looking back over this past year, I realize how much I was changed in that instant. Each day, I make sure I do something that will help reduce violence in our country. Now, when my son leaves for school each day, I slow down and hug him extra tight, and I tell him how much I love him. Just in case. I teach him what to do if he sees a “bad guy” with a weapon. We talk it through, like we talk about what to do in case of a fire. He is 7 years old. Some people will say I am paranoid. But, with 2 school shootings a month since the Newtown tragedy, I must do my job as a mother: prepare my child for life in America.

I will never forget.

Before December 14, 2012, I did not know anyone in Newtown (or Connecticut for that matter.) I did not personally know one person that was so senselessly killed that day, nor do I know any of the 30,000+ killed each year from gun violence. I am lucky. Today, 1 in 4 Americans knows someone who was injured or killed at the end of a gun. One in four.

I will never forget.

I have met many amazing people over the past year; brave warriors who are working tirelessly to prevent violence. Some of these warriors know first-hand the heartbreak of losing a loved one; how hard it is to lose a child, a wife, a brother to unspeakable violence. Despite their grief, or because of it, they get up each day and do whatever it takes to ensure that you do not have to endure the same unbearable pain that comes from such a tragedy.

We will never forget.

This year we have heard a lot about the “Connecticut effect.” Well, I live thousands of miles away from Newtown, and I am just as committed to preventing gun violence as I was on 12/14/12. I will not rest until our country is safer for all. And I am not alone. People from across the United States were spurred into action that fateful day. We are no longer sitting by and waiting for someone else to do something. We will.

Today, we remember. We mourn. Tomorrow, we march onward…for as long as it takes.

We will never forget.

 
 

Please join us as we perform Acts of Kindness for Newtown this weekend. 
Sandy Hook Anniversary, 1year, OPTION 3
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