Remembering: A Tribute For The Victims Of Sandy Hook (VIDEO)

Remembering twenty-six victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Dec. 14, 2012.When will stories like this be the rarity instead of the norm?Picture from the Connecticut Post

Remembering twenty-six victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Dec. 14, 2012.
When will stories like this be the rarity instead of the norm?
Picture from the Connecticut Post

“Suddenly you were gone from all the lives you left your mark upon…” ~ NEP; Afterimage

December 14, 2012 was a clear, cold New England winter day. At Sandy Hook Elementary School, the school day was getting underway. The new security door had just been activated, requiring any visitor to be identified before being buzzed in. At 9:30 am, Adam Lanza made his own entrance with a Bushmaster rifle and entered the school armed with it and two handguns.

Sandy Hook under fire.

School principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, heard the popping sounds. She and her vice-principal, Natalie Hammond went to investigate. School psychologist Mary Sherlach accompanied them: both she and Principal Hoschsprung were the first casualties. Natalie Hammond, wounded, made her way back into the office and called 911 to report a gunman in the school.

Teachers, hearing the gunshots, ushered their charges to safety if they could, hiding them in closets and cabinets. The gunman, Adam Lanza, made his way towards two classrooms where kindergarteners and first-graders were cowering, terrified. He shot their teachers, Lauren Rousseau and Victoria Soto, along with 20 students. The children were all ages six and seven.

Twenty-six families dealt with a terrible loss.

Twenty-six lives were taken at Sandy Hook school that day by Lanza before he killed himself. Twenty-six families buried a loved one that awful week and then somehow got through a Christmas without them. The first year after a loss is terribly difficult but, often, the second year is even worse. It has been described this way by one writer:

“… it seems as though at this point the abject sorrow starts to modify into a less-dynamic, less emotional state, into a feeling of emptiness, a day-to-day malaise of directionless stasis… “

This will be another difficult year for those families. At a time when families gather to celebrate the birth of a son (or a sun), the absence of a family member is sharply felt. We cannot lift this burden but we can share it. And so we remember those twenty-six family members, too. And hug our own even tighter.

The victims of Sandy Hook, with links to the memorial page of each.

Charlotte Bacon, 6 — Her parents said that she was “an extraordinarily gifted 6-year-old who filled her family each day with joy and love.” Charlotte loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian. The beautiful little redhead loved school.

Daniel Barden, 7 — He loved the beach, playing drums and Foosball and campfires. His brother and sister and his cousins were his favorite playmates. His family says he had “a fearless pursuit of life.”

Noah Pozner, 6 — Noah said that his best friend was his twin sister, Arielle. He loved  animals and video games. His favorite food was tacos. Noah was the youngest victim.

Jack Pinto, 6 — Jack was a wrestler, and  dreamed of one day being a professional football player. His idol was NY Giants receiver Victor Cruz, and he was buried wearing his jersey. Hearing about this, Cruz wrote “R.I.P. Jack Pinto,” on his shoes and gloves for the next Giants game.

Jesse Lewis, 6 — Jesse’s family had many pets, and Jesse loved them all. He was learning to ride horseback. Those who knew him said he was “full of life.”

Grace McDonnell, 7 — Grace was an artist, she loved painting. Her favorite place was the beach. She requested a purple cake with a turquoise peace sign for her 7th birthday.

Dylan Hockley, 6  — Dylan’s family had moved to Connecticut from England. He loved to cuddle and play tag at the bus stop. His role model was his big brother, Jake. Dylan loved to eat chocolate.

Jessica Rekos, 6 — Jessica was horse crazy and wanted new cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat for Christmas. She was looking forward to getting a horse of her own when she turned 10. Her parents said that Jessica “devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses and writing stories about horses.”

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6 — Ana was a talented singer. Her father is a jazz musician and she grew up surrounded by music. She enjoyed singing gospel.

Madeleine Hsu, 6 — Madeleine Hsu loved dogs. She read voraciously and enjoyed dancing and running. Her family called her “a born leader.”

Olivia Engel, 6 — Olivia was busy with swimming, ballet and hip-hop dance lessons, tennis, art and soccer. She loved school and did well in math and reading. She loved musical theater. Her favorite toy was a stuffed lamb.

James Mattioli, 6 — James math and his family described him as a “numbers guy.” He was fascinated by the concept of googolplex. His favorite foods were hamburgers, his Dad’s omelets with bacon, his Mom’s French toast and Subway foot-long sandwiches.

Chase Kowalski, 6 — Chase was  an accomplished athlete at his young age, having just completed his first triathlon. He loved baseball. Chase enjoyed playing ball and riding his bike.

Catherine Hubbard, 6 — Catherine loved animals. She was proud of her beautiful red hair.

Josephine Gay, 7 — Josephine had just turned seven. She loved the color purple, riding ride her bike having a lemonade stand in the summer. Josephine was nicknamed “Boo” because she resembled the character in the movie “Monsters Inc.”

Emilie Parker, 6 — Emilie was always smiling. The bright, creative little girl was a loving sister to her 2 younger siblings. Her father said that her laughter “was infectious.”

Caroline Previdi, 6 — “Silly Caroline” had a ready grin and a big heart.  A neighbor, remembered how Caroline would ride the bus with her son, distracting him with peek-a-boo games.

Avielle Richman, 6 — Avie’s family moved to Sandy Hook from San Diego. She loved horses, Harry Potter and the color red. After seeing “Brave,” she decided to try archery.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6 — Ben played soccer, swam, played piano and hoped to be an architect or a paleontologist. He loved The Beatles, lighthouses and riding the train. His family says that Ben rarely sat still except to play the piano.

Allison Wyatt, 6 — Allison wanted to be an artist, and her parents put her drawings all over the walls of their home.She had a kind heart and was very giving. She loved to laugh.

The brave teachers and administrators who died that day.

Victoria Soto, 27 — Vicki will always be hailed a hero for giving her own life to shield her students from the gunfire. Her favorite color was green, and her brother remembers trips to pick out the family Christmas tree with Vicki leading the way. She had wanted to be a teacher since she was 3 years-old.

Mary Sherlach, 56 — Mary was, with Dawn Hochsprung, the first to be killed that morning. She had been a school psychologist for 18 years. She loved to garden read and attend the theater.

Dawn Hochsprung, 47 — Dawn Hochsprung  was very proud of Sandy Hook Elementary. She would tweet photos of the school, students and teachers. The last one was a picture of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert. Parents recall never seeing her without a smile.

Rachel D’avino, 29 — D’Avino had only recently started working at the school. Rachel was due to be engaged on Christmas Eve: her boyfriend had asked permission from her family just days before the shooting.

Lauren Rousseau, 30 — Lauren Rousseau had just become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook. She grew up in Danbury, Connecticut. She was planning to go see “The Hobbit” the weekend following the shooting.

Anne Marie Murphy, 52 — She was hailed as a hero, found shielding children with her own body. She was married, the mother of four. Besides teaching, she enjoyed art.

Even after this awful event, our Congress still could not pass anything on gun safety.

In the days after the Sandy Hook shooting,there was a national outcry from the public to do something. But the NRA, which no longer represents gun owners, mounted an effective counter-campaign. Congress, as dysfunctional as ever, could get nothing done: not even background checks. Even though President Obama was able to write 23 executive orders, Congress did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

And, while Congress cowers before the NRA, the carnage continues. Since December 14, 2012 there have been 24 mass shootings which left 112 Americans dead. And still Congress does nothing. What on earth will it take?

I found this lovely memorial video on You Tube and wanted to share it. So grab a tissue and take a few moments to remember the angels who died.

“My name is Bob Rovira; I’m a self-taught pencil artist. After learning of the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 I felt compelled to honor those who lost their lives. This is my tribute and may they never be forgotten.”