Few events in history make lasting memories for people. We remember the big things that happen in our lives – those that mark the election of a new president or the start or end of a war. We may remember the deaths of celebrities and certainly of people we know. But I’m talking about those big events that scar our hearts because they were filled with such tragedy we can tell you exactly what we were doing at the moment we found out about it. In my lifetime, I can only think of two of that magnitude.
I’m pretty certain most people who were old enough will claim this level of remembrance about September 11. My daughter came home from school the other day and told me she learned about the man who helped prevent Flight 93 from crashing into its intended target. My husband and I were very proud to know she was learning about this hero and the many other heroes that day.
The second event is one that still horrifies me. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing. That day was five years ago today. And I want to take a moment to reflect upon and remember those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty of them were children between 6 and 7 years old. I remember feeling sick as I thought about those kids. I spent days crying as I pored over their pictures on the Internet and read their stories. They were beautiful kids. All of them. I read about the 6 adults who also lost their lives and cried over their stories. My heart still hurts as I remember them. When the tragedy happened, I had my 6th grade students write letters to the families of the victims. I read their heartfelt letters and took them to the post office. I always remember this tragic anniversary and look for news on how the town is coping today.
As I think about this tragedy, I don’t want to come across as bringing up a gloomy subject. I think it is appropriate to remember those who have gone before us. To reflect upon their stories. I want to offer a prayer for those who are still struggling to get through.
Father, I lift up the residents of Newtown, Connecticut today, and ask that you wrap them in your arms. May they feel your presence strongly. I know they are still mourning. I know parents are still grieving over the loss of their children. I know spouses are still grieving. Please, Lord, be with them all. Thank you for the amount of time each family had with their loved one. May they remember good times, too, as they mourn. You are a good Father. And I know you’ve been at work in Newtown, in Connecticut, in the United States, and in our world. I stand on your promise to wipe away every tear. In Jesus’s name, Amen.