Yesterday morning our 6 year old granddaughter had her kindergarten graduation ceremony. Proud parents and grandparents, along with various other family members and friends filled the auditorium as six kindergarten classes filed onto the stage for their big morning. Some 70 children total.
And then the emotions hit me, along with a lot of others in that auditorium. We had all driven to the elementary school, driven past those flags at half mast at so many locations. We knew what had happened the day before, and we were still reeling from it all.
And then we saw our kids, grandkids, excited children getting ready to move up to first grade…the new class of 2034, as the principal later said.
And then the emotions came, as the ceremony started with a moment of silence for those young lives lost so tragically in Texas the day before, along with two of their teachers.
I looked at those precious children, my oldest granddaughter and her little friends, many of whom I knew as well. And the enormity of what had happened some mere 24 hours earlier hit me like a ton of bricks.
Each of those young lives had once sat on a stage very much like this, with their families in attendance, cheering them on after their first year in school…kindergartners graduating to first grade. Their lives and bright futures ahead of them.
But no one knew what would happen in the next several years. No one suspected or even imagined what would take place, forever wiping out the smiles of these children, forever destroying their families. Their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters losing a part of themselves.
The loss is incomprehensible. The grief unimaginable. And I found myself near tears as I silently prayed protection over these precious children in front of me.
I cannot begin to understand, or to even imagine how those families feel. I cannot imagine how they themselves will survive the next few days, weeks, months, and yes, even years, as they try to cope with such senseless and devastating loss.
And yes, we were all proud of our little graduates today, and cheering on their achievements. Wondering what their futures hold for them as future scientists, doctors, astronauts, musicians, teachers…and what great things they will accomplish.
At the same time we mourn the loss of those other future scientists, doctors, etc. who will never see those goals accomplished. And the world is a darker place because of it.
These senseless and selfish acts of violence perpetrated by a hatred so unimaginable must stop, and it must stop now. Before other precious lives are lost.
I do not pretend to have a solution. This person who committed this heinous crime bought the weapons legally. Gun laws didn’t stop him. I have to believe he was severely mentally disturbed. Why did no one see that? And where were the security guards at the school? Would metal detectors have helped? I think they would have.
Hindsight is 20-20, as we know. We can unfortunately not change the past. But we MUST change the future somehow and determine how to protect these precious children that have been entrusted to us. This cannot continue.
Parents, hold these precious ones close. Tell them you love them every chance you get. And when you’re upset with them, and at your wit’s end, remember that these little ones are a precious gift that needs to be appreciated and loved every day.
Because in this world, we just don’t know….
May God bless all of these families whose lives will never be the same. And please, let’s all stop the finger pointing and work together to find a solution to this madness.
Our futures are at stake…and our most precious gift, which are our children.