Twelve months ago, it hadn't happened. For most people on Earth, Newtown was a place unknown. Even for those familiar, it was somewhere unremarkable, little more than a quiet corner of Connecticut. That all changed on December 14, 2012, and not for the better.
These days, Newtown is no longer just a place, it is a movement. This isn't our phrase, but rather something that we read a little earlier today. It struck a certain chord and inspired us to write about a subject that we'd intended to avoid. Like most people, we're approaching the first anniversary with a certain degree of dread. That it must be marked is something we understand, even if we don't welcome it. That said, we see no reason to rehash that day's incomprehensible events. It's not as though it's something that we otherwise might forget.
Instead, we look to the future and, in doing so, we've found that looking through Monte Frank's eyes makes things a little easier. Monte is an attorney, for whom Sandy Hook is home. His youngest daughter graduated from the High School there just two years ago. No-one is better placed to make sense of the situation than he. That Monte is an outstanding blogger who, in recent times, has been prolific in his output is a blessing to us all.
'The day I've been dreading is almost here,' he wrote in his latest missive. 'I feared we'd be hurled back to that awful period when the media overran the Connecticut town no-one had heard of, a time when we could not sleep, we spent our days pretending to be strong for our children and we quietly escaped into the bathroom to cry. But now that the day is so near, my trepidation has subsided. At the six-month 'anniversary', Newtown Reverend Matt Crebbin ended the interfaith service by blaring Bob Marley through the church's sound system: 'One Love! One Heart! Let's get together and feel all right'. He was right. Newtown got America together and began building a partnership among communities from coast to coast - all united to reduce gun violence, and it feels all right - or at least, a little lighter.
'On the cusp of the anniversary, I have hope. Hope that, because of this new coalition of Americans, 'change is gonna come'. Newtown is no longer just a place, but a movement.'
To mark that movement, a week of action was launched on Monday, when civic leaders gathered to read to local children. Monte himself has been involved, at one point delivering a speech on behalf of Patricia Llodra, Newtown's mayor. In that speech, it was noted that 'There is no greater gift of love than to perform acts of kindness in honor of those whose lives were taken. We believe there is power sufficient to move the world, when so many [people] think and act the same good thoughts and deeds. We cannot undo the awful happenings, nor can we turn back the clock against the many other senseless acts of violence that have hurt so many. But we can choose how we respond to those acts [and] we choose love. We invite you to join us in that choice in confidence that together we can make a better and safer world for all persons'.
In this, there is an important point. Newtown might be the focus (and for obvious reasons) but this - this movement, this coalition - is bigger than that and is something that touches us all . . .
'It hit me,' writes Monte. 'We are all Newtown and we are all Hartford. And Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech and Columbine. We all stand united in our quest to end the parade of pain. We all seek peace. PEACE. These are days Newtown should be proud of. Newtown has opened its doors to the entire nation and given a voice to those who did not have one. Newtown has shown that, from the darkest depths, humanity can rise above and good can prevail over evil. We are Newtown. We are all Newtown. We choose love. LOVE. Get on the bus and join the Newtown movement. Honor with action'.
Here at OM®, we couldn't agree more . . .
We are all Newtown.