I cried alone in a hotel room as I watched the faces of the students in
Littleton, CO on television. I could feel my heart pounding as one
young girl, now scarred for life, described having the gun put to her
head and then watching others murdered next to her. I wanted to be
there to comfort them all and just listen to their pain.
Being away from home is always difficult. But being away when tragedy
of this magnitude occurs is overwhelming.
As this story was unfolding I was about to give a speech
about hope, dreams and survival. I would share with them the story of
my oldest son being a cancer survivor. I would sing to them an upbeat
song of joy and success. But I just walked away from a scene of tragedy
Without diminishing the significance of this terrible loss I offer some
hope to you.
I remembered that in stark contrast to this scene played out before the
entire world there was another story.
I imagined that while this was unfolding a group of young people were
rehearsing for the Spring Choir Concert to be held at a school in a
community some where in our country. I thought at that same moment
shots were being fired that ended lives, hundreds of Rotary Clubs were
meeting once again to make plans for their youth programs they are so
famous for. I knew for a fact that in my own local community the first
ever Northeast Optimist International Club was meeting that evening.
Their motto is "Friend of Youth."
In schools across this nation children were learning science and math so
that maybe one of these kids would grow up to find a cure for the same
cancer that threatened my son's life. Perhaps in a history class some
where kids were excited about stories of America's growth and it ignited
in them a dream to one day lead this nation to greater glory.
The women of churches and synagogues were meeting that morning to plan
their fundraisers to help buy books for the children's library, clothe
the poor and feed the hungry. Millions of loving, caring parents went
off to work and when word of this hideous event made its way through the
factories and businesses, they paused for a moment, thought of their
children and thanked God for their safety. Then I guarantee you that
hugs and kisses were generous that evening when once again these same
parents held their children, this time as if they wanted to never let
"I love you!" was said a million times a million this morning as the
reports of "15 dead at Colorado high school" blackened the banners of
every major newspaper.
Our biggest enemy is fear. If we live in fear of participating in the
same freedoms that so many before us gave their lives for, then the hate
mongers and the killers win.
Mourn and cry as I did. Then pick up your head and look around. I
challenge you today to fight back. Join a club, call your child's
school and find out when the next PTA meeting is and be a part of it.
Write your Congressman and voice your concern. Now turn to the
Community News section of your local paper and thank God for all of the
people who are involved with making America great.
Oh, yes. I did call my son to tell him I loved him. He said, "I love
you too, Dad!" I stayed awake most of that night remembering why.